This week is Yellow Week. What’s Yellow Week I hear you ask? Well, I’ll be honest, I had no idea either. It wasn’t until I was contacted by one of the lovely girls I met at the Cosmopolitan Self Made Summit asking me if I would get involved that I learnt all about this week and what it stood for. #WearYellowDay is a day aimed at raising money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease affecting more than 10,400 people in the UK that has no current known cure. It is a disease you are born with and so it cannot be caught in later life but 1 in 25 of us carries the faulty gene that cause it usually without knowing. The disease causes a thick, sticky mucus to form in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. The mucus clogs the lungs, which eventually results in respiratory failure.
Before writing this post I did a lot of research into CF. I have been lucky enough to have never had come across it and, perhaps naively, knew very little about the symptoms and the impact that it has on people’s lives. Originally, my intention was to look at exercise and CF. There was loads of information available and I would urge you to take a look. If you are interested there is a great website exploring ways in which you can find and create a fitness programme that is going to work for you and your CF.
However, my plan changed when I came across an incredible project by photographer, Ian Pettigrew in an online Women’s Health article from way back when. He published photos of around 60 women, all of which are living with CF. The women who took part in this project were of all difference shapes, sizes and ethnicities and CF looked different on each one of them. Yet each one of the photographs are beautifully unique and personal and each women tells her story in a different way. The series was called the Salty Girls project, named due to the higher levels of chloride in the skin of those with CF.
The aim of the series was to help put an end to body shaming. These women embraced their bodies and scars whilst inspiring women everywhere to do the same. I was hugely inspired by this. In a world where our rigid conceptions of beauty dominate our daily lives, loving your body has become all the more difficult and yet all the more necessary. If I search #bodypositivity on Instagram I can get over 1,000,000 hits in seconds and yet I wonder how many of us practise what we preach. If you scroll long enough you’ll probably find one of my pictures – I use the hashtag a lot! However, I still look in the mirror and feel disgusted sometimes. I still wish I could have smaller thighs or a bigger butt. Yet seeing this shoot acted as a reminder that I am lucky to have the body that I have. Seeing these incredible women embrace their scars with pride is truly inspirational for us all and reminded me of my interview with the amazing Billie Anderson a few weeks ago.
If you head over to the website you can see the full project. I would seriously recommend taking a look and reading some of the incredible first hand experiences of these women. I cannot possibly do justice to their experiences and the experiences of people everywhere who are suffering with CF. This disease is truly horrendous and yet there are men and women out there fighting it and learning to love their bodies despite and even because of their scars, chest tubes and ileostomy. Body positivity needs to include every body because we never truly appreciate how lucky we are.
I am really grateful to have been asked to get involved with this years campaign and I have learnt so much about a disease I knew very little about. If you are able to donate to the cause please do. Every year the Cystic Fibrosis Trust invest millions into research to help those with CF tackle some of their biggest challenges. Their aim is to allow people to live a life unlimited by the condition. You can head over to their website here. I understand this may not be possible for everyone but I do urge you to take a look at the project and get involved in #WearYellowDay if you can. You can also take part in fundraising events throughout the year so head over to their website and see how you can get involved.
Until next time.