My name is Faye Savory and I am very happy to call myself 'Chief Sender of Hugs' at BearHugs.
I absolutely love sending my 'hug in a box' gift hampers through the post and truly believe I have the best job in the world.
Here's my story of how I came to start BearHugs with the support of the Prince's Trust.
HOW I CAME TO START BEARHUGS
In my early twenties, I started to notice a gradual decline in my health. In 2013, I had to give up working as a Speech and Language Therapist and found myself mostly housebound.
I spent the majority of my time in a dark room tolerating noise, company or mental stimulation for only short periods before needing to return to full rest. Sitting up left me dizzy, chewing food was a challenge and my legs struggled to get me from my bed to the bathroom. I became entirely dependent on others and used a wheelchair on the rare occasions I left the house. I now know that my symptoms are caused by Lyme Disease.
The idea for BearHugs first came about after I received an especially thoughtful package from a friend just when I needed it most. When you can't leave the house very often, anything arriving through the post takes on greater significance. That little package completely turned my day around. Although I wasn't able to act on it straight away, it planted the seed in my mind for what would later become BearHugs.
With so much of what I felt had defined me (my work, my hobbies, my social life) stripped away, I felt lost and frightened. Slowly though, I began to relearn what was important to me. I started to introduce activities, however small, into my day that would bring me fulfilment. I revisited large-print children's books from my childhood for a few minutes at a time. I spread an episode of a TV show I loved across a week. I made a bracelet in ten bead bursts. And then as I saw improvements in my health I increased these activities and started to add some more. I wrote blog posts about my experiences and started to sell the jewellery I was making online, donating the profits to charity. Now, several years later, I am incredibly fortunate to be doing a fair bit better. While still affected by my health, I manage more with my days and am slowly regaining my independence.
After browsing their website, I contacted the Prince's Trust and a couple of weeks later enrolled on their Enterprise Programme.
Starting BearHugs has completely reaffirmed for me that there always opportunities if you look in the right places.