Living with a chronic illness can take its toll on your body. Even those living with invisible symptoms can feel their bodies changing with flares or new medications – often altering the way they feel about themselves. That’s why Lauren Lovejoy started Chronic Beauty, a calendar campaign that features 12 women living with chronic health conditions, to highlight the beauty and strength of those who face medical adversity.
“Chronic illness can be so different for each individual, but in the end all women want to feel validated and beautiful,” Lovejoy told The Mighty. “We started this project to show symptoms invisible and visible are beautiful.”
Lovejoy, who is also the founder of Lyme Warrior, felt a calendar would be the best way to tell these stories, with each month highlighting a different woman’s story. “We want others to know that living with a chronic illness is different for each person,” Lovejoy told The Mighty. “Illness is not only about symptoms. We all battle with other issues that stem from illness… Many [of the women featured] were frustrated that people didn’t take them seriously because they didn’t look as ill as they felt. Their illness was underestimated because the symptoms were invisible, but there were also women who were upset that their conditions showed and it made them feel unattractive.”
The 2017 Chronic Beauty Calendar features women with endometriosis, cerebral palsy, asthma, arthritis, chronic migraine, lupus, essential tremor, degenerative disk disease, kidney disease, lyme disease, stroke and Huntington’s disease.
Women selected for the calendar not only represent a variety of conditions, they show chronic illness doesn’t discriminate – that all ages and races can be affected. “These are women who have been through experiences most others will never face,” Lovejoy explained. “These women not only survived but continue to fight and spread awareness to others. We found these women’s spirits inspiring and wanted to share it with others.”
Calendars can be purchased through the Lyme Warrior website for $22.00. Proceeds from each calendar will be donated to research endeavors for each condition featured.