Artist Takes Glamour Shots to Combat Stigma of Chronic Illness
Karolyn Gehrig, a Los Angeles-based artist, is the inspiring woman behind the hashtag #HospitalGlam.
#HospitalGlam is a campaign Gehrig started to celebrate her body in the midst of the pain and uncertainty of her chronic illness.
In 2003, Gehrig was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by joint problems and skin tissue fragility, according to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation.
She began taking glamorous photos during the long hours she spent at the hospital for treatment and testing. When she started posting them online with the hashtag, other people began finding strength in her posts and joined in.
Gehrig told Buzzfeed that the simple act of dressing up and taking the photos helps her reassert her own power over her body. Sharing the images spreads awareness and reduces the stigma associated with illness.
“I want everyone who goes into a doctor’s office to feel empowered and that they can be themselves,” she told the outlet. “There’s nothing about being disabled that I should be ashamed of.”
“I care for myself and I have no shame attached to the health issues that make up my life and the lives of the people who mean so much to me,” Gehrig wrote on Instagram. “Taking care of ourselves is paramount and no matter how you feel when you walk into that office, know that you are f*cking flawless.”
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