I’m sometimes asked why I started my own business. My response is that I wanted to be creative, to make meaningful pieces of jewellery and that I wanted to be at home with my young children (and pets!). But there was another reason that I don’t always share, which is that I’ve lived with Crohn’s Disease for the past twelve years.
Crohn’s can be a limiting disease and working from home, where I can rest, stay comfortable, manage my diet, take time off for hospital treatments and take my laptop to bed when I need to, has been the only option for me.
Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs. Whilst the causes are still unclear, a malfunction of the immune system results in an inflamed and ulcerated digestive tract, often leading to nasty complications and a higher risk of bowel cancer. Strong medications, surgery and dietary modifications can help to control it, with varying degrees of success.
While this disease affects everyone differently; tiredness, weight loss, pain and a need to stay close to the bathroom are common symptoms. Crohn’s is a pretty undignifying disease. Not much is left private and you need to be able to talk about your poo. A lot.
Living with any disease is obviously a constant challenge. Having been sporty and body-confident in my former pre-Crohn’s life, I haven’t run further than to the loo in years and try to keep my weight loss shrouded under layers. Baggy harem pants are my wardrobe staple. Dealing with this whilst having and bringing up my children has been hard. I feel very sad that I’ve been unwell for their entire childhoods. Yet every hospital stay has reminded me that however bad it is for me, it's a lot worse for many others.
Crohn’s is a young person’s disease. One in four of those diagnosed are under the age of 16. It strikes at children and teenagers whilst they are trying to grow up and flourish, whilst they are trying to pass exams, form friendships, starting to go on dates. It can blight futures and limit lives.
May 19th is the day of the Royal Wedding - and it’s also World IBD Day. Whilst the eyes of most of the planet will be on La Markle and her dress - it’s also a day for the 10 million IBD sufferers and their families to raise funds for the struggle with inflammatory bowel disease.
We want to help too. We will donate 10% of Honey’s Willow's profits during the month of May to Crohn’s and Colitis UK. This organisation offers support to those who need it, as well as working with healthcare providers and funding research into treatment.
So during May, know that as well as supporting a small business, you are also supporting people suffering from an unpleasant disease - helping to offer them a more hopeful future. Thank you for your support!