Internet star defies health condition by proudly appearing at London Fashion Week

Charlotte Twinley was practically bedbound for five years before her stoma, now she walks in London Fashion Week
Charlotte Twinley was practically bedbound for five years before her stoma, now she walks in London Fashion Week

AN INTERNET star who was bedbound for five years before a stoma bag gave her a new lease of life is showing it off to help others.

Charlotte Twinley, 24, started struggling with extreme stomach pain when she was 14 and could hardly eat.

The teen’s joints would also dislocate easily, and doctors diagnosed her with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) – a condition which affects the body's connective tissue and joints - in July 2013.

Her condition caused her colon to be more stretchy, making it hard for her to digest foods.

Charlotte, from Arundel, struggled to eat anything for the next five years, causing her to resort to laxatives and a liquid only diet.

Charlotte underwent surgery in 2018

“I kept spraining and twisting joints more and more during sport,” she said.

“Then I started struggling with stomach pain that felt like I was being stabbed over and over.

“They told me that my EDS also affects my digestive system making it work very slowly so digestive and passing food was really difficult.

“I was constipated all the time which was so embarrassing for a teenager.

“I struggled with my weight and body image due to my eating issues.

“I was basically bedbound for five years because I was so weak.”

Charlotte posts about her stoma bag on social media

When doctors recommended she had surgery to have a stoma fitted - which would divert part of the bowel through an opening in the stomach - she jumped at the chance, desperate to be able to eat again.

Charlotte had the surgery in June 2018 and has been able to eat and have a normal life since.

“I love my stoma bag,” she said.

“I was so desperate to have a Chinese takeaway again and I thought it was such a cool medical innovation.

“It’s helped repair my relationship with my body.

“I didn’t really feel self-conscious about it because I was just so desperate to eat normally and be able to sit down with others and have what they are having rather than a smoothie.”

Charlotte started posting about her condition on social media after feeling that there was not anyone else speaking out about having a stoma bag because of EDS.

Charlotte Twinley at London Fashion Week

“I feel really proudly to show it off and speak about it to help others,” she said.

Keen to represent and raise awareness for people with stoma bags, she was ecstatic when she was invited to model for London Represents at 2021’s and this year’s London Fashion Week.

“I’m not afraid to show it off,” she said.

“They try and champion people of all shapes and sizes and diversity which is really refreshing.

“It was a much bigger event this year so it was nerve-wracking.

“But there was so much adrenaline and I felt so sassy walking down there.

“If I can encourage others to have acceptance of themselves then that’s amazing.”