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Brave Bikini Photo Inspires Others to Stop Hiding Their Insecurities

For nearly four years, Bethany Townsend was embarrassed. After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, the young woman’s bowel burst; she ended up with two colostomy bags that she was determined to hide. Until now.

In a bikini picture that has been shared nearly 20,000 times, Townsend, 23, proudly displays her colostomy bags.

“Finally after three and a half years, I decided that my colostomy bags shouldn’t control my life,” Townsend wrote. “So when I went to Mexico with my husband in December last year, I finally showed I wasn’t ashamed. Still hoping for a cure…”

Since the photo was shared on June 21, other men and women of all ages with Crohn’s jumped up to match Townsend’s bravery — they, too, shared photos with their colostomy bags or surgical scars out for everyone to see.

“Just because you have something that people don’t see often, don’t feel ashamed,” one person wrote in their photo’s caption. “You are who you are. Be happy.”

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