UNTIL very recently stomas - an artificial opening made in the bowel to allow faeces and possibly urine to be collected in a bag attached to the body, were spoken of in hushed tones. If they were ever spoken of at all.

But Bournemouth woman Rachel Jury has been changing all that.

Rachel is in the rare position of having two stomas - an ileostomy for her small bowel and a urostomy for urine. And far from hiding it away, she's spoken out to help others in her blog, Rocking2Stomas.

"I got ill 10 years ago when I was 21 with a rare disease and now have two stomas as a result," she said. "This was hard at first but when I accepted my situation I was in a place to help and support others.

"I started Rocking2Stomas and I campaign regarding stoma awareness but in particular urostomies, which I call the Forgotten Stoma."

Rachel sees her mission as 'breaking stigmas regarding stomas' and: "Showing that my two buddies have not only saved my life but given me far more than I could ever have imagined: a purpose, a community I belong in, friends and now I am enjoying my life.”

She became ill while at university and contracted campylobacteriosis from cooked chicken bought at a supermarket.

"Little did I know that it would trigger a chain reaction of multiple organ failures and from that day onwards my life would never be the same," she said.

After her illness escalated she eventually had the two stomas fitted and embarked upon her journey to help others.

Now she has even more to celebrate after being shortlisted for the Positive Role Model For Disability at the National Diversity Awards 2018.

Nearly 25,000 people were nominated this year alone and Rachel is one of 124 nominees being recognised alongside freedom fighters, domestic violence campaigners and trans rights activists.

“I cannot believe I have been nominated, let alone shortlisted for this award," she said. "It is such an honour and means so much to me."

Rachel will join community organisations and role models from across the UK in Liverpool on September 14 for the ceremony.