It started off as a bit of a laugh, but 26-year-old Brisbane-based construction worker Daniel Searle raised more than $4,000 and a lot of awareness when he decided to recreate a viral photograph of a young woman with a colostomy bag wearing a bikini.
Bethany Townsend from the UK became a media sensation when millions of people around the world shared her photo on social media and it was published prominently in newspapers.
Having lived with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) since he was 12-years-old, Daniel has often struggled with his everyday health.
“I was teased a bit at high school because the medication I was on stunted my growth … but I’m the sort of person who doesn’t worry about that,” he said.
Daniel’s body is riddled with scars from numerous operations. In 2013 he had my complete re-section of his large colon, resulting in an ileostomy.
“For anyone in this age bracket to have a colostomy bag, it’s the whole image thing which you shouldn’t care about but you do,” he said.
CCA CEO Francesca Manglaviti said:
“It takes a very brave young man to don a bikini in front of his home city and colleagues, and we are incredibly proud of Daniel for taking the initiative to start a widespread public conversation about the impact of IBD. We all know it’s a serious illness – but for some people, using humour about their own situation is how they get through and also how they get attention that can get others listening, learning and understanding.”
Daniel stripped down to a bikini in front of his colleagues and was photographed on the banks of the Brisbane River by television and newspaper journalists. Both he and gastroenterologist Dr Benedict Deveroux were interviewed by Chanel Seven and Nine and his story was published in a range of media outlets including:
- National TV media coverage via Channel 9’s 3pm news bulletin.
- National print coverage in MX, including a photo and caption.
- Print coverage in QLD via Quest Newspapers, including feature article and photos.
- Online coverage via The Courier Mail, Quest Newspapers and The Australian including feature article and photos.
- TV coverage in QLD via Channel 7’s 6pm news bulletin and coverage via Yahoo 7 online (video clip and written article.)
- Social media engagement with the international Crohn’s & Colitis community, which included direct engagement and recognition for the campaign from Bethany Townsend in the UK.
- Media clippings