We sent 12 smile presents this month taking our new overall total to 528 smiles. Items included cuddly toys, stickers, hampers, books, nail polishes, toys, pamper sets, sweet sets and a gardening kit. Items change all the time as we personalise the presents for each individual but they are all lovingly chosen, wrapped and posted. You can nominate an ME suffer or carer for a smile on our nomination page.
We love it when we receive pictures and messages from people receiving their smile presents. It makes us smile too. You can view some of the recipients on our smiles page or read comments on our comments page.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis awareness day is the 12th May and this year lots of awareness was raised across social media and in real life as well. Well done and thank you to everyone involved.
Alice joined in with Millions Missing campaign online whilst family went to the Millions Missing Southampton. Family attended the viewing of Unrest at The Ritz Cinema at St Vincent College with guest speaker Sue Waddle from ME Research UK.
Missing for 9 years
Millions Missing Southampton
Grace joined in the Millions Missing online. Family attended the ReMEmber Annual Conference with Dr Amolak Bansal and Dr Charles Shepherd.
Missing for 11 years
Smile of the month
This month’s smile of the month is in relation to the shop of the month. I was thrilled to receive my order of an amazing smile teddy bear created by the talented Holly. Thank you for making me smile Holly!
Shop of the month
This months shop of the month is Handmade by Holly. Holly makes personalised memory bears, hearts and cushions. Here’s more about Holly and her shop in her own words. Hello, I’m Holly 😊 I started Handmade by Holly in the summer of 2016 when I could feel my health deteriorating and I was trying to accept that I was going to have to leave my part time job.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, Scoliosis, IBS and Anxiety back in 2011 during my first year at University when I was studying English and Creative Writing. I managed to finish my degree, but my health got a lot worse over those 3 years and I then spent a couple of years doing some blogging and working part time in fashion retail.
Textiles had been my favourite subject at school, but for a variety of reasons I ended up taking more ‘academic’ subjects for my A-Levels and Degree, so I had a few years where I forgot how much I loved sewing. I started Handmade by Holly one Saturday afternoon when I’d been looking on Pinterest for some craft inspiration ahead of our wedding. I experimented with a variety of products over the next year, and then when we got married we were given a John Lewis gift voucher from my husbands boss and James kindly said I could use it towards a sewing machine 😊
I spent 2 weeks making 13 practice teddy attempts whilst I trialled different patterns/sewing techniques/sizes etc and I ended up making my own teddy template as I couldn’t find one I was completely happy with. I designed my bears so they will sit nicely on a shelf or a bed/chair as a precious keepsake (although beary hugs are always welcome too hehe!) and I make each part of the teddy separately so I can include several different items of clothing per bear to capture lots of special memories.
Running my business through Instagram has enabled me to create a job where I can work from home, but I still get to ‘meet’ and socialise with lots of different people online which helps my mental health a lot as it can get quite lonely being at home on my own so much. It’s so inspiring to have discovered other spoonies (like lovely Alice) who are still managing to achieve things around managing their health ❤ I’m very lucky that working from home has helped me to adapt my life and learn to pace myself better so my illnesses are more manageable now.
Handmade by Holly has been the biggest silver lining for me these last couple of years as my life plan had to change a fair bit when I was diagnosed. To feel like I’ve achieved something and to get to chat to such lovely people along the way makes my heart burst 🙂
You can find me at www.handmadebyhollyshop.com / Instagram: @handmade_byholly / Facebook: @handmadebyholly4
Please check out www.handmadebyhollyshop.com and show your support to Holly.
Many M.E/chronic illness sufferers aren’t able to work due to their health but some people run online shops from their home/bed so we would love to be able to help support M.E/chronic illness sufferers business in a small way by shining a light on their shop. If you have a online shop you can recommend to us, run by an M.E/chronic illness sufferer or carer please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the information and it may be used in a following month.
A special thank you to those who have fundraised and donated money to us this month. Your kindness allows us to continue sending smile presents so we can’t thank you enough. Your support really means a lot.
Thank you to
- Katie and Chris who climbed Snowden, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in Lucie’s name. They chose this challenge to reflect the mountains they watch Lucie climb daily. Thank you so much to everyone involved in the In Her Name Lucie x fundraisers.
- Students for Smiles – Thank you for holding a pub quiz to raise money for us as well as creating lovely little uplifting notes for us to include in our smile parcels. We really appreciate your kindness.
- Justine – Thank you for raising money for us this month and thank you to your company Afinity Water for matching your donation. Much appreciated.
- Thank you to everyone who kindly donated money to us including Diane, Sarah, Oscar, Tracy, Sally, Catherine, Pauline and Steve. Your support means a lot.
Coming up next month
Next month 11-17th is National Carers week and today is the last day to nominate your carer for a special smile hug in partnership with Bear Hugs. More information and how to nominate can be found on our Carers Week post.