Connecting with Gaylyn Henderson, founder of Gutless and Glamorous
From a very young age, Gaylyn Henderson knew there was something wrong with her body. Just before entering high school she had symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and severe weight loss. At the age of 14, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease which is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The diagnosis didn’t stop her from becoming a high school cheerleader with great spirit and energy. She did everything she could to prevent symptoms from taking over her life. From alternative treatments to multiple surgeries, Gaylyn was bound and determined to find relief.
The Decision that Changed Her Life
After numerous doctor visits, ongoing complications and over a decade of living with excruciating pain, she opted for a temporary ileostomy. The hope was that it would provide relief (it did temporarily) however as the disease advanced she had a total proctocolectomy due to severe strictures (narrowing) in her colon. Gaylyn now had a permanent ileostomy which would change her life forever.
She said, “… in the end, I had no choice but to lose the colon and it was the best thing I did. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. My quality of life improved and feelings that had escaped me, such as hope, resurfaced.”
Life is Glamorous and Fabulous!
This feeling of hope encouraged her to take control of her life, start celebrating her new body and give support to others who had ostomy surgery. In 2012 Gaylyn founded Gutless and Glamorous, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with chronic illness. Her mission is to empower and uplift those facing life-altering surgeries and to raise awareness about IBD and ostomies.
Using #GutlessandGlamorous in social media is a fun campaign that Gaylyn created to bring awareness of ostomies to the public. Whether you’re "Gutless and Glamorous" or you support someone who is, you can join in and show your support!
Wearing Multiple Hats
Along with her non-profit, Gaylyn is a dedicated advocate for the IBD and ostomy communities. She volunteers her time at the Georgia Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and participates in the Undy Run/Walk, an event run by Colon Cancer Alliance to support colon cancer research.
If you live in the Atlanta area, join in on the fun by attending an annual event hosted by Gutless and Glamorous called "Cocktails for a Cure." This fundraiser is held on the eve of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) Take Steps Walk event.
I have extreme gratitude for my journey with Crohn’s because without it I would not have stumbled upon my ability to persevere, and to teach perseverance to others.
- Gaylyn Henderson