I am not at all ashamed that, at that time, my vanity was more important than whether or not I could walk. I felt that being cute and pretty was all that I had left in a body that was failing me. My cane supported my body; but, if I can be a bit melodramatic, it felt like it was crushing my soul. It wasn't just the stares and the looks and the questions... my cane also felt like a billboard for my insecurities.
Now, at the age of 33, I sat myself down and got honest... I'm really old in Spoonie years; and, my conditions will only worsen as I get older. I needed to suck it up and buy myself a new cane. My independence hinges on whether or not I use one. I assumed, now that I'm older, it would be a little easier. But, seeing the selection out there, actually made me even more depressed. It had been ten years, and this was still the crap they were offering us. It felt like everywhere I looked, I was seeing stuff that was so obviously catering to a more elderly demographic. None of them gave me the confidence I so desperately needed. They were all just ugly reminders of how I had felt betrayed by my own body.
That's when I really thought about. Considering the vast number younger people living with disabilities, I wondered just how common that feeling has to be? How many people aren't using canes simply because of the way they make them feel? Because of the stigma attached? How many people were sacrificing their physical health to protect their mental health? I decided that instead of my cane being an extension of my illness, I'm going to make it an extension of myself. To have my personality on display, not my deformity. I also wanted more than anything to give everyone else the same opportunity.
So, one day I just started to come up with designs for walking canes that you would just love to show off. I currently have over 300 canes ready for production. From chameleon colors, all things glitter, metallic, holographic, glow in the dark, and even canes that change colour in in the sun. If you want more bling in your life, we've got you. If you are into a more dapper style, we've also got you covered. People collect shoes and purses? Why not walking aids? Who says you can't have a cane to go with your every mood... or purse... or shoes? You're one of a kind, your walking aid should be also!
The funds I am asking for, will allow me to purchase the supplies and equipment I need to make all of this possible. Since this isn't something that is done everyday and I have certain physical limitations, I have researched the most accessible way possible for me to proceed with production. All while keeping overall costs down for my customers. I will be able to buy the canes themselves (Hugo Derby Canes ), paint & painting equipment, custom pigments, packaging, have my website go live, and open an Etsy store with your help. Everything is ready to go, I just need you all to finally get the ball rolling on my dream.
This absolutely means the world to me. It's given me back a confidence I had lost a long time ago. And, I am hoping to be given the opportunity to do the same for others. With your help, we can make this happen. So, pretty soon, we can have everyone living a Chronically Fabulous life!
- James Barratt
- Nicole, Taylor, & T'Challa
- N Foote
- Jordan Schmidt
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