Willow’s journey

willowSometimes you just need to stop and reflect on life. That’s how I felt on reading this Facebook message about some special friends’ young daughter, whose name is Willow:

If you met Willow in the street you would never know that she suffers on day to day basis. That her body doesn’t hold it together with her stomach paralysed she doesn’t get the right nutrients that her body needs to see her through the day. Willow is turning 4 on the 30th Sept and in those four years, two of her birthdays she has been in hospital three Christmas she has just been out for those two main days with the New Year being back in hospital one of which Willow became so poorly. She suffers from constant pain and no energy that most days it’s like climbing a mountain.

Willow among others suffers daily from this invisible illness, just because she doesn’t complain and looks good on the outside people think she is fine and healthy. I think this picture of Willow deserves a thousand likes and comments to raise awareness of this invisible illness. That would mean a thousand more people would know about invisible illness and what Willow has to live with on a day to day basis, what do you think, I think those that suffer with gastroparesis and other medical illness that we can’t see are very brave getting through everyday like its a mountain.

Gastroparesis is one of those hidden, not very sexy conditions that don’t get the headlines, the celebrity patrons or the funding to find a cause, a solution or truly effective treatments. It is a chronic, unpleasant, difficult to explain problem in which the stomach is unable to empty itself of food in the way that most of us take for granted.

We get so used to the major health campaigns from the government, health services, major charities, drug companies and those who seek to align their brands to health issues with cause related marketing initiatives, that we forget there are hundreds, probably thousands, of conditions that do not benefit from the assistance of professional public relations or marketing expertise.

Thanks to the ease of social media, it is possible to set up websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook groups and otherwise seek to tell the story of these conditions – and those who live every day with the consequences of being sick.

There is a hugely positive benefit in sharing journeys such as that being lived by Willow, providing an outlet for the frustrations and joys that are heightened when your life is full of medical interruptions, and connecting you with others who share your experience as they go through their own journeys and can tell their own stories.

But even with social media, children like Willow and the conditions they have, remain largely hidden among all the millions of messages competing for public and media attention.

If my friend’s message touches you (how could it not?), please stop by Willow’s Journey page on Facebook and show your support with a Like: https://www.facebook.com/Willowryejourney

Her parents are not only dedicated to helping manage her health, and give her an enjoyable and normal life,  they are fund-raising to buy the equipment, facilities and home adaptations that are life-improving and life-enhancing for such a brave, but very poorly little girl.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and reflect on Willow’s journey.

Published by

Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

3 thoughts on “Willow’s journey”

  1. I also suffer from gastroparesis, it’s a horrible disease and I can’t even imagine a 4 year old having to live life this way. I wish her the best on her difficult journey. HUGS for Willow.

    1. Tio – thank you so much for your best wishes for Willow. I urge anyone reading this to also visit your blog: http://tlohuis.wordpress.com – and connect with your own journey of illness. As I said in the post, there’s one good thing about social media is that it enables people who have life-challenging conditions to express themselves and connect with others. Take care and I hope today is a good one for you and others facing coping with these horrible, ‘invisible’ diseases.

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