When Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads shared that Lisa James (Manager of Community Development for Global Genes/Rare) asked her to host a blog hop, as they were in need of at least 40 bracelets right now, I was excited to participate in two ways: sharing as an artist creating a bracelet and sharing abut my experience as a Global Genes 7000 Bracelet recipient.
|Global Genes 7000 Bracelets for Hope: the beautiful bracelet I received! The artist is unknown, but so appreciated!|
Although I've been diagnosed with the debilitating and severely painful disease for over 15 years, I've been suffering for many, many more because rare diseases are so difficult to diagnose. Rare diseases are "orphan" diseases -- meaning no pharmaceutical company has picked up research for the disease because there simply isn't enough money to be made taking on rare diseases. Without pharmaceutical company research, rare diseases go un-researched, and are thus completely unknown to most doctors. One of the surveys I took as a recipient in the 7000 bracelets for hope campaign focused on diagnosis. It was comforting to participate in a medical questionnaire that understood inherently the many number of doctors it might take for diagnosis, and asked important questions about what kind of doctors actually helped to diagnosis the disease. This kind of interest and serious advocacy by Global Genes is such a relief compared to the usual invisibility and marginalization HS sufferers and those with other rare diseases experience.
|My beautiful Global Genes bracelet gives me STRENGTH from HOPE|
A serious factor in rare diseases is no pharmaceutical company interest means no medical research which means no cure. But it also means no treatments, no relief to suffering, and subjecting oneself or one's family or children to risky shots in the dark. As someone who has learned through the years to be assertive and to be an HS advocate, I thought most of my serious medical scares were behind me until this past week. I encountered an E.R. physician who simply would not hear me nor my spouse about what to do! And while I don't want to go into details because this campaign is about HOPE, his ignorance and refusal to listen to us as "ordinary" persons -- along with the lack of information on my rare disease -- seriously put my life in jeopardy. I'm still recovering from a very debilitating flare and the terrifying, powerless experience of emergency medical "treatment" -- or lack of treatment, or mis-treatment at E.R (while my "safe" doctor was away for the Holiday) but the experience brings to center the vital importance of rare disease awareness: the arts, community, non-profit organizations such as Global Genes, and powerful base-root movements are imperative to those who need medical solutions, treatment, and life-lines.
| "HS Life - Series 2 (W.I.P.) - Sketch - The Cure" by artist Alaric LaBrie. (Used with permission. Photo © Alaric LaBrie. All rights reserved. ) "Inspired by the recent events but not directed at anyone company or
another in particular just letting my frustrations at the overall
situation and lack of real meaningful options for HS suffers at this
point in time.|
It was my goal to show the desperation of our situations." -- Alaric LaBrie
Desperation. Awareness. Hope.
The artwork of Alaric Labrie is deeply moving to many HS sufferers. Labrie's representations of living with HS are raw, honest, and urgent. Living with HS, or any rare disease, is often difficult to express in words. Sharing the severe pain and morbidity of HS with physicians, friends, lovers can be exhausting and extremely difficult. The language of the body becomes a medium of meaning; LaBrie's powerful art portraits of HS and HS sufferers confront the disease courageously while comforting those who suffer with honor and dignity. I highly recommend exploring all of Alaric Labrie's powerful, imperative art.
There's much work to be done. As I've gathered resources for my blog hop post I've realized the work is immense, and intense. I've just sat and cried and cried several times today thinking of it. And thinking of one of my daughter's having Stage one Verneuil's is frightful, and having lost my other daughter with Stage three is heartbreaking. So rather than make this an educational post about Verneuil's, or turn to the tragedy or urgency persons with rare diseases are faced with; rather than posting and listing groups and resources for HS as I'd planned, continuing to work to "end" the disease -- fighting -- I'm going to just be gentle with myself, let my body continue to recover, and let the arts, the power of creativity, the energy and power of connection move and empower today.
|Ombre blue silk and satin woven Swarovski crystal bracelets are simple, yet soft.|
I created two simple woven stack blue bracelets with Sherri Stokey's "Easy Macrame Stack Bracelets" tutorial. They are soft and comfortable, which I thought might be soothing for some recipients, and the sizes may work as a parent - child set. The gorgeous Swarovski crystals sparkle brilliantly. In addition, I may also wire wrap and create a more dramatic blue sari bracelet, like my Humblebeads Bare Branches jewelry, in addition to the crystal bracelets woven in silk and satin.
|My Humblebeads Bare Branches jewelry ensemble becomes a necklace or bracelet|
I'll be sharing more about my story and my Bracelet of Hope at the Global Genes website. If you would also like to create and donate a bracelet, or if you would like to request one for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, please contact Global Genes Bracelets of Hope.
This is a blog hop :) Enjoy the many bracelets of HOPE created for Global Genes by the following artists:
Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her on Facebook for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!