Bethany Townsend never expected that a bikini photo she posted on Facebook would go viral, or that the support she received from thousands of people would reignite her dream to become a model. Townsend lives with Crohn's disease, which requires her to use colostomy bags, so when she posted the photo she did it because she was tired of hiding, not because she expected so much fanfare.
Townsend, who's suffered from Crohn's since she was three years old, has undergone many surgeries for her condition. In 2010, the make-up artist had to shelve her dreams of being a model after her bowels burst, forcing her to undergo a surgery that removed part of her intestines and made it a requirement that she wear two colostomy bags at all times.
Townsend was reluctant to show off her body after the ordeal, but that changed when she and her husband took a vacation to Mexico. There, she gathered the courage to post the following picture of herself for her Facebook friends, showing not just her body but the two colostomy bags she now wears.
Six months later, Townsend sent her photo to Crohns And Colitis UK, a group that works to improve the lives of those living with irritable bowl disease. They were so excited by the photo that they posted it to their Facebook. And the response has been phenomenal.
Now, Townsend is emboldened by the response and is thinking of tackling the modeling business again. She's also thrilled that her photo has resonated with so many people.
"If I can inspire or help other people in my position to feel a little more comfortablein their own skin," she told the Daily Mail, "then I'm really happy."
Image via Facebook