Jessica is the founder of Parkman George. They make luxury custom furniture for pets, allowing you to perfectly match your pet furniture to your home. They are also one of our fantastic corporate partners, whose support allow us to continue improving live for everyone affected by Crohn’s and Colitis.
Based in the beautiful county of Somerset, we pride ourselves on using the finest craftspeople and keeping our processes and suppliers in the UK. I also have Crohn’s disease. Well, this all feels rather formal…
I, along with most of my family, am an ‘IBD warrior’. It has helped shape how we work. Flexible working, inclusive, supportive – these are just some of our values. It was always my plan for Parkman George to be more than just an interiors business. From day one we were keen to support Crohn’s & Colitis UK with profits from our sales. I have always championed them because, as soon as any of my family were diagnosed, they have always been there to offer support.
Supporting Crohn’s & Colitis UK gives us an opportunity to give back in ways that we normally can’t. You can see there is growth within the treatments now available and there is much more information now out there about Crohn’s and Colitis. They aren’t ‘cool’ illnesses, actually far from it, but by Crohn’s & Colitis UK being out there and by us all talking about it, it becomes more normal to have a conversation about poo, tummy cramps, sickness and all the other joys of living with Crohn’s or Colitis.
We raised just over £1,200 and it’s all thanks to our amazing clients who have been so generous. They are an amazing bunch and have given so much. We haven’t been able to thank each of them individually as we had quite a lot of anonymous donations, so this is also a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us as a company and me personally over the years.
As an example of why we support Crohn’s & Colitis UK, I like to tell a story from about 15 years ago, when I was on a bus feeling very poorly. I was having strange symptoms and my IBD Specialist nurse, Aileen, rang asking all sorts of questions and trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Crohn’s is a puzzle that changes each time you come to put it together. But how do you have that conversation, on a bus talking about poo!? You have to have the confidence that it’s ok to talk and you have to have a team of doctors and nurses who understand.
You don’t always understand the pieces of the puzzle and you need help to work it out. Sometimes you don’t even realise that it is a piece of the puzzle!
Crohn’s & Colitis UK have worked so hard to make that conversation normal; helping train and fund exceptional doctors and nurses in talking about Crohn’s and Colitis, giving you the confidence to say what you need to say. They also work tirelessly to put the message out there that these invisible illnesses are there and need to be spoken about. They aren’t pretty and they aren’t sexy, but they are there and people are living it. You might look amazing on the outside but dying on the inside or the other way around. And that’s OK! Talking makes it your normal and helps to reduce the stigma for all those living with Crohn’s and Colitis.
To anyone, if you can get involved in anything that means something to you, or someone close to you – do it! You will only be having a positive impact. You will give people strength to keep pushing when they are hit hardest or even give yourself a welcome distraction and channel your emotions in a positive way. Something as small as your company giving a donation for each Christmas card they send out is a brilliant start – all the little donations soon add up.
Living with Crohn’s or Colitis takes so much effort, but it is a team sport. If it wasn’t for my family and friends, who keep me going during those bad times, it would be ten times harder. You might be the sickest you have ever been at the moment but with a bit of self-care, talking to your doctors, nurses, friends and family you will get there. If there are people in your life who don’t understand, it’s ok to put some space between you and them. Find the ones who will put their arms around you, make you a cuppa and let you have a moan, hold your hand, give you some tough love and help you climb back up again.