A woman has bravely opened up about her health condition after running for a beauty pageant.
Jessica Logan, 29, suffers from ulcerative colitis, which is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed.
Mild to moderate flare-ups can be treated at home, but severe cases will need medical attention at the hospital.
Since her childhood, Jessica has suffered with bowel issues but experienced a flare-up in 2017 which left her bedridden.
She underwent a string of procedures, including being fitted with a stoma, as well as an operation known as j-pouch surgery.
Now in an exclusive interview with Daily Star, the beauty pageant contestant has opened up about her diagnosis.
The mortgage advisor is now on a mission to highlight how important it is to not judge others.
She said: “With first impressions, I look like a ‘normal’ 29-year-old however our outside appearance can be deceiving.
“What people don’t see is my mental and physical fight. It’s important we don’t judge others without knowing their story.
“Life can constantly throw us challenges and it’s okay to struggle with these.
“And I want others to understand they are not alone in their journey.”
Now Jessica is proud of herself for taking the plunge and entering her first beauty pageant in 2019.
She admitted: “It had given me back a purpose in life and gave me back my lost confidence.”
Speaking about her diagnosis, she added: “My life has been different ever since.
“I saw my stoma for the first time and burst into tears.
“I felt disgusting and questioned whether my partner would still love me and find me attractive.
“It wasn’t an easy journey and I never saw myself coming out the other side but I did.”
Jessica claims she felt “suicidal”, before one day it all clicked for her.
She said: “I realised I was still alive and that things could have been worse.
“I called an old photographer from my teens and asked them if they’d be happy to shoot me in lingerie with my stoma bag on show.
“I nearly backed out on the day but I’m glad I didn’t. I felt on top of the world and finally saw myself as beautiful, worthy and enough.”
Now Jessica runs a campaign, Making The Invisible Visible, where it raises the awareness of “invisible” conditions.
She revealed: “I had to pass this feeling onto others and help them accept their true beauty.
“Life is forever unpredictable so we have to live and adapt for the best.
“I want to leave behind a legacy and inspire others to focus on their dreams and aspirations.
“It can take us a little longer and be 10x harder than those without health conditions but I want to prove that they can be achieved.
“It is my dream to create global awareness and change to ensure everyone has the equality they deserve.”
Jessica also has a number of projects, one including the first live Warrior Charity Pageant on October 23.
She hopes to raise £1,500 and empower those involved before running for Mrs Diamond West Midlands next month.
The brave campaigner said: “I don’t want disability to be a bad word. I want to put an end to the bullying.”
And she’s decided to take part in the optional swimwear competition to embrace her imperfections.
“It’s about being the best version of ourselves during that specific moment,” Jessica concluded.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.