This time next year I will like how I look in the mirror. It’s a bold statement for many to make, but the Eurobodalla’s own Chloe Towney has made such a pledge … on national television.
The brave Catalina teenager will feature on the Channel Nine show This Time Next Year on Monday and share her inspiring message, which has been more than a year in the making, with households across Australia.
Ms Towney said it was a big step to apply for the program, but felt it was the perfect time to remove her facial birthmark and spread a feel-good story along the way.
“I just wanted to stand up for people and show them they’re not alone in their everyday struggles,” Ms Towney said.
The Batemans Bay High School student said her birthmark had plagued her self-image throughout her life.
“I would walk down the main street of the Bay and I would just put my head down, especially during the holiday season,” she said.
At the start of the show I didn’t love myself at all, I was ashamed of who I was.Chloe Towney
Ms Towney said she was often embarrassed to show herself in public and would sometimes wait in the car for two hours while her mother went shopping, just to avoid being seen.
However, more than a year after her journey began, Ms Towney is not shying away any longer.
After 14 surgeries at Sydney Skin in Newtown, about 40 per cent of the birthmark has been removed.
Ms Towney said the procedure cost upwards of $5000, with the program covering all expenses.
“I used no painkillers or numbing cream … mum had to hold my legs down to stop me moving away from the laser,” she said.
“It was so painful, I was so nervous to go back.”
But it seems the pain was all worth it. She now has a new pledge, to have her entire birthmark removed by 2020.
“My whole opinion changed. I wanted everyone to see me, even if my face was banged up,” she said.
Ms Towney says she is now “at peace” with her appearance and looking forward to the public response to her journey after the show airs.
She plans to upload videos of her journey to her YouTube channel.
“Being able to share my story with Australia and the rest of the world just made me, me,” she said.
“It made me find a deeper love for myself.
“At the start of the show I didn’t love myself at all, I was ashamed of who I was.”
Now, Ms Towney hopes to become the next “Kim Kardashian of the Bay” and use her profile to influence and inspire.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for the show,” she said.
Chloe’s episode of This Time Next Year will air on Channel Nine on Monday at 8.40pm.