Bethany who has Crohn's Disease, has become an internet sensation after we posted her holiday photo showing her stoma bags. Since then media have been covering her inspirational story worldwide...
Bethany Townsend decided that she didn’t want her colostomy bags to control her life and she was confident and brave enough to send us a holiday sunbathing snap to our Facebook page that has been seen by an estimated 12 million people – perhaps even more since her story has gained so much media attention. Thousands of our members with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis - and many more supporters - have told us that Bethany is inspirational and that her actions have helped them to shed insecurities of their own.
What Bethany has also achieved is to shine a bright light on two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis - which are life-long and debilitating conditions for which there is no known cure. Both conditions are more prevalent than Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis, yet are less well-known and so we are extremely thankful to Bethany for telling her story to so many people. It is only through greater awareness that we can help change the way people perceive and treat people with IBD since it is often a sensitive and intimate condition which people living with IBD tend to keep very private.
It is important to recognise that because of the range of symptoms and the treatments available not everyone with IBD will require surgery, an ileostomy or colostomy bag. However, with at least 18,000 new cases being diagnosed every year in the UK alone it is vital that we ensure a greater awareness of the condition and raise significant sums of research money in order to pursue a cure.
Bethany's photo and story have been covered by media across the world, including the US, Australia, South Africa, Brazil and most of Europe, which has helped raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Below are just a few examples of UK media coverage that Bethany's story has received so far.
Monday 7 July
Sunday 6 July
- Daily Mail - Scores of Crohn's sufferers across the globe post bikini selfies inspired by model who became an internet star after posing with her colostomy bag on show
- Sunday Times - Bethany Townsend: My bikini pose is quite revealing about a little-known disease (Subscription needed)
Thursday 3 July
- BBC Newsbeat - Crohn's sufferer: Get your colostomy bag out on holiday
- Listen to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat Broadcast
Wednesday 2 July
- BBC News - Colostomy bag bikini photograph seen by nine million
- The Telegraph - The most inspiring bikini photos you'll see this summer
BBC Midlands Today:
ITV Central News:
Tuesday 1 July
- Daily Mail - Crohn's sufferer pursues dream of being a model after bikini photo exposing colostomy bags becomes an internet sensation
- The Express - Brunette becomes online sensation after posing in bikini with colostomy bags
- Huff Post UK - Crohn's Disease Model Bethany Townsend Reveals Colostomy Bags
- Metro - Woman, 23, becomes Facebook sensation over colostomy bag bikini picture
- Mirror - Brave woman's holiday snaps baring her colostomy bags viewed by MILLIONS around the world
- The Sun - Brave Bethany's pic in bikini & colostomy bags (Subscription needed)
Saturday 20 June
We posted it on Saturday and it was seen by 1 million people within 4 hours. In the first 24 hours, it had reached over 7 million people.
As of Friday 4 July, the original photo has now been seen over 12 million times, with over 240,000 likes and 19,000 shares.