Local woman releases calendar to help empower those living invisible illnesses

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020

A WOMAN from Tamworth is once again dedicating her time to raise awareness of invisible illnesses and support those who have them.

For over two years now, 28-year-old Jessica Logan from Wilnecote has given her time to raise awareness of invisible illnesses and now she has released a fundraising calendar which has so far raised over £500.

Invisible illnesses are conditions such as autism, mental health, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and Inflammatory bowel disease.

Jessica, herself has survived several invisible illnesses.  For her, it began in 2017, at the age of 24. This enthused her to want to inspire others to be proud of who they are and what they have overcome.

In February this year she launched empowerment and awareness photoshoots to help people overcome the negativity they experience whilst visualising the fight people go through with an invisible illness or disability.

Jessica Logan in one of her images.

Jessica Logan in one of her images.

Each person who took part wrote words on themselves to represent what they thought, things other people have said or things that linked to their illness or disability.

Local Makeup Artist Abby Louise helped with the makeup for these shoots and Ant Bradshaw at Style and Story International Pageant Photography took the images.

The idea behind this being that this helped them release those negative feelings, to help believe in themselves and make them feel supported.

With plans for some amazing images, Jessica wanted to turn it into an awareness calendar for invisible illnesses and disabilities because she feels that educating others is extremely important to help those that live with one.

Jessica told Tamworth Informed:  

“Unfortunately many people receive discrimination on a day to day basis because their struggles can’t be seen.

“Many people create confrontation, making it harder for us to go out in public because we feel abused for using the facilities we have rights to.

“A lot of people receive hurtful remarks such as ‘you are faking it’, ‘you are lazy’ or ‘why don’t you just get over yourself’.

“Living with an illness or disability is debilitating enough without all of this.”

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all of the photoshoots had to be cancelled but Jessica wasn’t going to let that stop her from putting the calendar together.

By this time, she had a number of people interested and she didn’t want to let them down, especially during such a difficult year, so she adapted.

Instead, each person took photos at home and some organised a photoshoot themselves.

Those that took part wrote negative words over themselves to highlight what they live with and Ant Bradshaw edited the images.

Later in the year, a photoshoot also went ahead in Kent with a small group of people, before rules changed. This was organised by CJB Pageantry with Photogenic Photography and Enhance MUA.

This shoot was a little different because Jessica wanted it to link to positive words that represented each person taking part, because it’s something they can struggle to see themselves.

The inside of the calendar

The inside of the calendar.

The calendar was launched in November and has so far raised over £500 through sales. There is still a number available which can be purchased from Jessica’s website for just £10 each.

Speaking of the sales, Jessica told us:

“All profits are being donated to ten chosen charities. Nine of these help people with invisible illnesses and disabilities and the other is University Hospital Birmingham Charity to provide back to Good Hope Hospital as they saved my life back in 2017.”

All of the charities that are to benefit can be found listed on Jessica’s website here.

Jessica continued:

Over 70 people took part in the calendar and I’m proud of each and every one of them.

“I know how much courage it took for many of them and I’m glad they can begin to accept their journey and changes to their bodies because they are all inspiring.

“Living with a lifelong illness or disability is a challenge but we don’t let it define us.

“The messages of thanks I’ve received for this project are heart-warming, as it makes me happy knowing I’m helping others.”

Inclusivity in the fashion industry is something Jessica has been working on with her own photoshoots since her Stoma surgery back in 2017.

In creating this calendar, Jessica worked in collaboration with Ann Summers, which meant she achieved her aim of inclusivity, with the underwear giant using her image on their Instagram story.

Ann Summers gifted Jessica and three other ladies underwear to represent those living with an invisible illness or disability whilst showing we are worthy enough and that they can still be sexy.