A fashion model has not allowed cancer or her two permanent ostomy bags get in the way of pursuing her dreams — and now she says she wants to inspire others.
Jearlean Taylor, 51, of Baltimore, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of vaginal cancer when she was 3 years old. After undergoing a few surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, she was cancer-free. The treatment, however, left her needing the use of ostomy bags, which are worn on the outside of the body to collect waste "rerouted from its usual path because of malfunctioning parts of the urinary or digestive system,” according to the United Ostomy Associations of America.
Taylor told CBS News she had low self-esteem during her adolescent years, but that her life changed when she was approached by a modeling scout at a mall. She said modeling has allowed to her “to take the focus off my bags and concentrate on my talent as a model.”
She has also previously said that posing with her ostomy bags for the first time was a big deal.
“To do a photo shoot like this was a major step,” Taylor told WGRZ. “I believe I have changed the industry.”
Taylor has been featured in a number of magazines, runway shows and newspapers. She said she hopes to impact others in the ostomy community.
"My desire is to show others, especially in the ostomy community [that] we can be, do and live," Taylor told CBS News. "We don't have to be defined by our circumstances. I encourage others to live your life on purpose… with a purpose… for a purpose."