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My Story – Crafting through Ulcerative Colitis

I’m Jane Elizabeth Higgins. I was Jane Elizabeth Chandler until last year when I Married the gorgeous Mr Higgins, who loves and supports me through sickness and health.

I am so happy to have found this beautiful community of Crafties. I can’t actually express in words the emotions I felt when I read the welcome message from Karen and realised how perfect this community is for me.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2002. This is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease which causes diarrhoea, bloody stools, weight loss, pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and incontinence. After a few years and lots of medications, including immunosuppressant’s I became steroid dependant and in need of surgery in 2009. More than half a dozen surgeries later, a stoma, ongoing complications, losing my job, more weight loss and countless hospital stays, I had my final operation in 2012. I now have an ileoanal pouch. Since then I have developed extreme Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Damage and Joint Pain.

Colourful Jasper Heart Pendant
Colourful Jasper Heart Pendant

While off sick recovering from Pouchitis (inflammation of my pouch) and Anxiety in 2014, I joined a local craft workshop. It was here that I started making jewellery. I loved it straight away. I have always loved practical activities and as a primary school teacher I enjoy teaching the practical subjects such as science and design technology. The jewellery making fulfilled a need in me to create; its very therapeutic. I began making more and more things and trying different techniques. My favourite is beading. It soon became clear that I would have to give up teaching altogether. Soon after that I started my own business. It allows me to work when I’m able and rest when I need to.

I make IBD awareness jewellery to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK (CCUK), a national charity which has helped me a great deal on my journey. I also make awareness bracelets in aide of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), GoGold for childhood cancer (money raised goes to Clic Sargent) and Sickle Cell disease (Sicklekan), as I have people who are close to me who are affected by these conditions.

Children’s Liver Disease Awareness Bracelet
Children’s Liver Disease Awareness Bracelet

I also run jewellery making parties and workshops for children and adults. These are a great opportunity for me to practice my two loves of teaching and jewellery making.

I have opened my shop with three of my awareness bracelets. They are each only £15 and £5 from each purchase goes to the health charity associated with it. I make awareness jewellery for health causes close to my heart. I have a personal story to tell about each association and I will share these with you over the coming weeks.

Until then, have a look at and enjoy the beautiful bracelets. I will chat with you again soon.

Jane <3


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