Luke Bennett lived with the debilitating effects of ulcerative colitis, and the side effects of the treatments for the disease, for 4 years.
Each time a treatment stopped working they would try something new in a bid to avoid having surgery. When the last drug treatment stopped being effective Luke had an operation to remove his colon and create an ileostomy. He says “Healthwise, it was the best thing to ever happen to me!”
In fact, Luke adapted so well to having an ileostomy he shared a ‘belly selfie’ (picture of himself with his bag on show) on social media just weeks after his operation and, much to his surprise, it went viral! Putting the picture up online was originally intended to be a way for Luke to convey to his friends what the operation he’d had involved and Luke says “I felt fine about the first few hundred people seeing and ‘Liking’ the picture. The next day it had gone up to 20,000+ and I couldn’t keep up with thanking wellwishers, it was starting to feel a bit overwhelming and once it got up to 40,000 I felt quite intimidated. Over 2.7 million people have seen it to date!”
The overwhelmingly positive messages of support that Luke received from the image made all the difference, especially those from people who shared how comforted and reassured they were ahead of their own surgery by seeing his picture. And this is why Luke joined the Advocate team – “to help young people living with stomas to feel more comfortable with themselves.”
Luke, 21, is now a full-time Law student and enjoys socialising and street dance in his free time.
When you enroll in me+™, you get all of the valuable resources and support you need right at your fingertips - from a dedicated team of stoma care nurses and specialists to information on product, lifestyle and diet. You don't have to figure it out alone. Join today and let us help you get back to doing the things that make you, you.