You might have heard of The Calendar Girls but 2020 is all about the colostomy girls.
A group of 14 women aged 20 to 53 from across the UK stripped down to their underwear and showed their ostomy bags for a new calendar to raise awareness for a charity that helps people with stomas.
The idea is a twist on the story of the Calendar Girls from a Woman’s Institue group in Yorkshire, who posed naked to raise money for Cancer. The story later went on to be made into a film and even a musical.
Charity founder Lauren Henderson, 31, from Worcestershire, who set up the organisation after having a stoma herself, said: “We wanted to do something completely different to everyone else and give people the chance to look and feel glamorous with their colostomy bags.
‘At first, I was nervous because I didn’t think people were going to actually do it.
‘I had my stoma at 25 and featured in the first calendar with it – it just shows that it doesn’t make a difference to a person.
‘It’s now my favourite event of the year – none of the people involved are scared to get their bag out, just like any other woman in that position – the bag wasn’t the issue at all!”
It’s not the first time they’ve created a charity calendar – the first happened in 2016 – but for the first time, they decided to shoot the images outside
This is the fifth time Purple Wings has created the calendar after their first effort in 2016 went viral online.
The woman stood by the lakeside behind a social club in Redditch, Worcs, and posed for each month of the year.
Claire, 53, who stars as May, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and colitis in 1988, and after unsuccessful treatments by 1997 she had a panproctocolectomy where her total colon was removed.
She said her two daughters and husband have been her rock throughout and encouraged her to join the group of beautiful, brave and truly inspirational ladies to raise awareness.
Julie, from the month of April, had recently had her stoma made permanent following a previous bowel perforation, two tumours and colitis.
She said: ‘I questioned everything, then Purple Wings entered my life via a new friend, and slowly I began to start a newfound journey.
‘The calendar shoot made me come away emotionally and mentally a new person, with the added bonus of some amazing new-found friends and best of all my daughter was there to share this experience with me.’
Annie, 31, who features on the front of the calendar, added: ‘I was six weeks post-op when I did the calendar shoot, it was worth the pain for such a good cause and the opportunity to meet some truly fabulous fierce queens!
‘It was just what I needed to make me feel sexy again.’
Lauren added: ‘The best reaction we’ve got from the calendar was from a young guy who didn’t even notice the bags on the ladies and said ‘is that it?’ – that’s the whole point of the calendar.
‘We want to educate those without stomas with the calendar and gives those with one a confidence boost, especially the models.’
The 2020 calendar will be on sale soon for £9.99.
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