Taylor Nadraszky knows what it’s like to be sick and unable to leave home. Nadraszky, 16, started Be Brave Box – a subscription box service for people living with chronic illnesses – last year, after a kidney transplant left her stuck indoors for six weeks.
“Due to being really immunosuppressed, I wasn’t allowed in busy places such as grocery stores or malls, and had to wear a mask everywhere I did go such as my hospital appointments for the first six weeks after my transplant,” Nadraszky told The Mighty. “I had a lot of free time and that’s where the idea came from.”
Following her transplant, Nadraszky spent more than four months planning Be Brave Box. “I have always loved subscription boxes,” Nadraszky said. “It always made me happy to have surprises come in the mail… I thought that there should be a subscription box specifically for people with chronic illness to brighten our days and have something fun come directly to us when we are too sick or tired to go out.”
As part of Be Brave Box’s mission to help people living with chronic illnesses, many of the items featured are made by people living with chronic illnesses. Other items, including crafts and decor, are selected because they promote positivity or are aligned with the spoon theory. Nadraszky also makes sure to include items, like reusable fabric face masks, that are staples for people living with chronic illnesses. Each box contains five items geared towards teens and adults of all genders. Each box costs $27 CAD (for U.S. and Canadian subscribers, and $29 CAD for international subscriptions), and is shipped out every other month from Canada, where Nadraszky lives.
Nadraszky hopes that Be Brave Box, which turns 1 in January, can help others secluded by illness feel less alone. “We are always thinking ‘Is someone going to judge us based on our illnesses we can’t control?’ or ‘If I push myself and get out of the house am I going to be stuck in bed for a week after because of it?’ We just want to get out and have fun without being judged, just like healthy people do.”