An ulcerative colitis sufferer whose medication causes her face to swell created an inspirational quote to share on social media after she overheard a cruel jibe about her ‘many chins’.
Vicky Mulholland, 31, was diagnosed with the chronic bowel condition 18 months ago and will have to take medication to control flare ups for the rest of her life.
Head up, stay strong. Fake a smile, move onVicky Mulholland
The mum-of-one said: “My face swells up because of my medication and I heard someone comment on my ‘many chins’, but instead of venting to my husband or on Facebook, I decided to do this.”
The moving quote reads: “Head up, stay strong. Fake a smile, move on,” and it struck a chord with fellow sufferers on the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page – so much so that the post amassed 1,500 ‘likes’ in 45 minutes and more than 5,500 after 24 hours, making it one of the page’s top five posts of the year.
It attracted 400 comments of support and was seen by more than 300,000 people, which is as many people in the UK who suffer with Crohn’s or colitis.
In the quote, Mrs Mulholland talks about how people’s negative comments affect her day to day life. An excerpt reads: “I look fine but I’m not. I’m being strong but your comments and judgements and lack of understanding hurt.”
Mrs Mulholland, who lives in Upton with her husband Jon and their daughter Holly, two, said: “I just wanted to raise awareness since people don’t know about the condition – I didn’t even know about it until I was diagnosed.”
She said others who had suffered any kind of taunt could use it to draw strength.
“It’s about AN illness, not MY illness specifically. It can be for any invisible illness or even bullying, since people receive abuse they don’t deserve.”
The former theatre worker is currently on very strong medication which involves a hospital visit every few weeks to get the condition under control, but if that does not work she may have to have her bowel removed, which she says is a ‘frightening prospect’.
She said: “But I’m staying as positive as I can and helping others do the same will help me stay tough. I don’t want to be defined by this disease and my medication.”