When Ben Ashworth posted a topless picture on social networking site, Facebook, he did so to show that despite having a stoma, he was proud to show it off.
But what he hadn’t though about was the response in support people gave him after the photograph reached 11,000 people.
Ben said: “I had seen some other people has posted pictures and I had thought it was a bit of a fad but when I thought about it I wanted to post a photograph too for my own reasons and to show that it isn’t something to be ashamed of.
The 35-year-old from Broadgate in Preston, who has terminal bowel cancer, had seen other “stoma selfies” and decided to show his support.
He continued: “Everyone has just been fantastic saying how brave they think I am but, to be honest, most people have been commenting on my scars rather than the stoma.”
The dad-of-three, who is married to Louise, is currently undergoing a gruelling six marathons in six months challenge and will tackle his fifth in the Isle of Man next weekend.
He said: “Having cancer didn’t phase me as much as my stoma did as I thought it would stop me doing things and living my life.
“But as Louise says having a stoma actually saved my life and to my family a stoma isn’t anything special and it’s their fantastic attitude that has really helped me.
“Running has given me the confidence to talk about it and now I want to show people that having stoma can’t stop you from living life.
“Without it I’d be dead - I couldn’t run six marathons in six months.
“It has not stopped me from running and living life and being active, I’ll just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and keep going.”