The Story Behind Cards for Bravery
Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I am the founder of Cards for Bravery. I am 19 years old and have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), as well as a number of other debilitating chronic illnesses; meaning I spent over 10 months in hospital in one year as well as continuing to have many other hospital stays. Because of this condition, I suffer from a variety of symptoms including frequent joint dislocations, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. My Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has also caused me to have other conditions including Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction, a condition that affects the motility in my digestive tract and the condition that affects me the most. Because of this, my stomach and intestines do not work properly and I am unable to digest/absorb what I eat or drink; meaning I rely on a central line into my heart to receive nutrition via my bloodstream (called Total Parenteral Nutrition). Despite having these conditions, they do not control how I live my life and I try my best to have a positive outlook.
Cards for Bravery was founded in May 2015 during a four-month-long hospital stay when I was 13 years old. I was having a difficult time and one day I received a card from a friend which helped to brighten my day and made me smile. After a lot of thinking and a long talk with the head play specialist at my tertiary hospital, I decided I wanted to start making positive handmade cards for other hospitalised and seriously ill children. We also give some cards to elders. I had been wanting to do something to help other unwell children for a while and this just seemed like the perfect idea. From then on, I started my journey of creating Cards for Bravery to brighten the days of other hospitalised and seriously ill children and young people in a similar situation as mine. I understand how difficult it is to be a kid or adolescent in hospital especially for long periods of time as you can often feel isolated, forgotten, lonely or scared as the world goes by and you are missing out on most things other children would take for granted such as going to school or hanging out with friends.
A handmade card is something so simple yet can help an unwell child feel positive, happy and remain strong as well as really brighten their day and remind them someone is thinking of them! We are starting new projects all the time. Most recently we have started organising Activity Packs for hospitalised children and teens. We have distributed over 11,000 cards and every day it makes me so happy that I can make a difference to thousands of hospitalised & seriously ill kids and also some elders.
I am always amazed by the massive amount of help and support I get from the public for this organisation - we would not be able to run Cards for Bravery without your support! Together, we will and can make a difference to hospitalised and seriously ill children.