09/01/2017 11:37 GMT

Woman Makes Free Ostomy Bag Covers To Help Wearers Feel More Confident

She sends covers to people all over the world.

A woman is making free covers for ostomy bags to help those living with life-changing medical conditions feel less self-conscious.

Celia Montoya, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, started the project after being hospitalised with diverticulitis - a digestive condition that affects the large intestine.

She had surgery and was fitted with an ostomy bag, which left her feeling embarrassed, but found many covers sold online were expensive.

Now, she makes covers for free and sends them to people around the world, only asking for donations towards shipping costs. 

According to the NHS, “diverticula” is the medical term used to describe the small bulges that stick out of the side of the large intestine.

Diverticulitis, the condition Montoya suffers from, describes infection that occurs when bacteria becomes trapped inside one of the bulges.

It can cause complications such as bleeding, abscesses and urinary problems and left Montoya in need of an ostomy bag to collect all waste. 

 “When I got out of the hospital I was embarrassed of ‘how am I going to hide this bag’ - it stuck out of my shirt,” she explained on her Facebook page.

“Even a t-shirt isn’t long enough to hide these bags because you still see the faeces at the end of the bag. Most of these bags are transparent.”

She said her insecurities led to her experiencing two weeks of depression, before family helped her research bags to cover the ostomy.

She was disappointed to discover many of the bags on sale online cost more than $40 (£32) per bag.

“I couldn’t afford that, coming out of the hospital with hospital bills and my auntie made me a bag,” she said.

Having a cover helped Montoya embrace her new ostomy bag and celebrate her improved health, so she decided to make more to help other people. 

To start she was paying for materials and shipping herself out of her own pocket, but soon received requests from people in places as far as Australia and the UK.

She now receives between 80 and 150 orders per week, so asks for donations from clients and the public towards shipping.

However, she’s determined to keep the bags free for those most in need.

2 happy customers precious Jonathan and Eden!!! Free Ostomy covers #ostomyliving #ostomycover #survivor

A photo posted by Colostomy strong!! 💪💩 (@freeostomycovers) on

Due to the ever-growing nature of her project, Montoya has enlisted the help of friends and family to make the covers.

She estimates that shipping to other parts of the US is usually around 40 cents (33p) per bag and UK is about 4$ (£3) per bag.

Follow @FreeOstomyCovers on Facebook and Instagram for more information or to request a bag cover. 

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