In July 2015, Luke Bennett underwent surgery for ulcerative colitis, leaving him with a permanent colostomy bag, which collects fecal matter when it's no longer possible for someone's bowel movements to travel through their anus.
Bennett went viral soon after his surgery when he posted a photo of himself wearing his colostomy bag to Facebook in order to raise awareness. Two years later, he's inspiring people again after posting to the Swansea Vikings rugby team page about how training with the team helped him realize that his colostomy bag couldn't keep him from having new adventures.
"I was not that scared of having the operation, however I was afraid that it would lead to a restrictive life which included not be able to participate in activities that a young, healthy lad would be able to," he wrote in the post. "The thought of a contact sport scared the shit out of me (no pun intended) as I was not able to gauge what kind of impact that would have on my body. And if you would have told me 2 years ago that I now train with a rugby team, I would have laughed out loud and thought you were delusional."
But train he did, and it's given him the ability to be more in tune with his body.
"Don't get me wrong, the confidence I will need to actually play a game will take some time, however I am beginning to listen to my body and with the support of the other guys on the team I am slowly beginning to realise that I am able to get stuck into tackles without the fear of impact! The fact that I am doing something completely new, and something that I NEVER thought I'd be able to do post-op reassures me that nothing will stop me pushing myself to try new adventures in my life," he wrote.
Commenters on the post are calling Bennett inspiring, and he truly is. Not because his colostomy bag makes life challenging for him, but because he was scared to try something and he did it anyway. He's basically the embodiment of that old cliche, "the only thing to fear is fear itself."
"I was worried that the guys would be a bit weirded out about it, plus the impact that full contact tackles would have on the stoma itself — but the guys have been amazing, no judgements were made and they always take into account whether I feel confident to tackle," Bennett tells Refinery29. "I feel great about the situation I am in with the team now, I will hopefully get enough confidence to play a full contact rugby game, but until then I will continue to play."
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