Hattie Gladwell (pictured with boyfriend above) may not be the bravest woman on the Internet, but she’s certainly in the upper echelon. That’s because the wise 19-year-old has decided to use her own body to send a message to others who might be suffering from similar afflictions.
Not even old enough to drink by U.S. standards, she has had to endure health issues that typically happen when one is further along in years.
She has ulcerative colitis and has to wear a colostomy bag to take care of her bodily functions. In January 2015, the condition hospitalized her and led to the removal of her colon, leaving her with only a small intestine affixed to the outside of her stomach.
The end — called a stoma, hence why her MoreThanYourBag blog is subtitled, “A Blog for Those Getting Used to Life With a Stoma” — was then attached to the colostomy bag.
To show people in similar life circumstances that they don’t have to be ashamed, Hattie Gladwell has posted a few revealing selfies of her wearing bikini and bag, one of which can be seen below.
“I have always felt that confidence is a great thing to have,” writes the West Sussex teen, “and I understand that a stoma bag can be hard to deal with. I’m still dealing with it, but my aim is to gain my confidence back whilst doing so!… Here I will be posting my experiences and anything I can to help raise awareness for diseases like Ulcerative Colitis.”
For the most part, commenters are largely supportive of Hattie Gladwell and her decision to post the bikini photo. On the Daily Mail coverage, this was just a sampling of how she’s being embraced online.
“Inspiring lady. I was diagnosed with IBD earlier this year and sometimes just want to hide indoors, under my duvet and wallow in how repulsive I feel (pale, puffy and always running to the loo whilst turning down any social invite that involves venues without bathrooms). She is gorgeous and clearly very upbeat and confident — I hope I learn to do the same.”
“More stories like this please. There is beauty in imperfection, the more this message is spread, the better.”
Do you think the Hattie Gladwell bikini photo sends a positive message? Sound off in the comments section.