Arundel resident Charlotte Twinley, 21, has been nominated for a Positive Role Model for disabilities at the National Diversity Awards. Charlotte was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) when she was 15 years old. EDS is a connective tissue disorder, affecting all of the collagen in the body which supports joints, muscles and organs. This caused her to have severe digestive complications. This greatly affected her life, causing her to stop being able to take part in sports. This all led her to develop anxiety, depression and anorexia.
Soon after, Charlotte had to leave university, and have a completely liquid diet for a year, until she had surgery to get a stoma bag. Now Charlotte uses social media and the internet to help others who are going through similar problems, spread awareness and end the stigma towards stomas, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and mental health problems.
Charlotte said: “Now, less than a year into having my stoma, I’m able to go out and eat and, what’s even more important, I want to eat and finally fully appreciate food again. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I’m raising awareness for EDS and chronic illness and helping those who are in a similar situation as I was as much as I can on Instagram.
I worked with Barcroft TV to produce a video on YouTube and Snapchat about EDS and my ileostomy – highlighting the fact that it’s not just people with cancer, crohns and colitis that have a stoma. The YouTube video has over 203,000 views and I received 60+ messages on social media about my video after it was released on Snapchat, all of which I replied to. I’m taking part and modelling for campaigns about body image and health conditions, like a campaign organised by Love Disfigure and NuNude outside of Victoria’s Secret for more inclusivity – this became viral with Huffpost, LadBible, Daily Mail and People writing articles about it, as well as many others around the world.
In January 2019, I was part of an article in Glamour Paris talking about how I raise awareness for stomas on Instagram. I have also set up my own website, sharing my story and have started to blog about various topics; such as diversity, disabilities and mental health. I’m dedicated to raise awareness for mental health, for eating disorders, for body dysmorphia, for body confidence, for diversity and for encouraging people to love and accept their bodies the way they are. I want to be the girl I needed to see when I was struggling. I want to be the best role model I can be.”
If you would like to vote for Charlotte for you can do so here https://nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/nominate/22295/