How Ovarian cancer inspired a passion for fashion

From 2008 to 2012, Sheila Gray battled Ovarian cancer.

According to Ovariancancer.org, the disease is diagnosed annually in nearly a quarter of a million women globally and is responsible for 140,000 deaths each year. Statistics show that just 45% of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years compared to up to 89% of women with breast cancer.

Sheila remembers the day she finally got her diagnosis after “a cycle for about a year straight and knew something was not correct.”

“I can still recall that moment it was surreal I think and I heard the diagnosis but it was as if it was a dream and I happened to be there hearing it play out,” she relays.

So how did she get through it?

“I tell everyone God gave me the strength and faith to make it through. I remember the doctor’s giving me one medication that literally made every joint in my body swell it hurt to breathe,” she says. “Yet I made it work every day and I know that it was by the power of God and the faith that I knew God was going to heal me. I prayed and read the word of God a lot and in those moments where I just had to cry I felt God’s comfort.”

And just as she got through cancer, another health issue developed – endometriosis.

“After cancer yes I dealt with endometriosis  — a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus,” Sheila explains. “This costing extreme pain with your menstrual cycle, including constant bleeding with extremely heavy bleeding. It tires you out it was days all I could do was get home to my bed. It was a major ordeal It can cause menstrual cycles that last for months or years and it often incurable and lifelong but God is a healer. It is so very often overlooked in women and in my case, I was misdiagnosed for 12 years. I was sent a doctor Kenneth Levey an angel from God. He took time with me and cared about me and talked to me and explained everything. Once we did the tests tissue had grown in 8 to 10 parts of my body. It was wrapped around my appendix and in several other areas of my body.

“The pain was like no other and it affected other areas of my body causing things to go wrong.”

She continues: “Once they found the endometriosis it was in so many places I had to have major surgery and with that rest and stay in bed and that is not me. ”

It was then that she took a negative and turned it into a positive.

“I endured changes in my life that would influence me in ways I did not expect,” she says. “Regardless of this news, and the unexpected alterations in my life, I kept faith that God would heal me and I would be healthy and well again.

“During this time, I was faced with the dilemma of recovery. While it was easy to be discouraged, this time reignited the passion and love of fashion that God birthed within me. The Sheila Gray accessories collection began with hand-crocheted scarves that were bright, vibrant, and always one of a kind.

“Created from my heart and soul, they were well received and I learned that many people connected with them and wanted more! This brought about the present collection made from beautiful fabrics, my joy for life, and an idea for a product that would be handmade, American-made, and completely unique.

“As I with a design house while out one of my many fabric selection appointments, I thought, why not expand the simple but beautiful scarf concept. Standing on the principle that everything has a purpose, I discovered that I could recycle the bits and pieces of lavish fabrics I see every day and turn them into whimsical and even transformational scarves.”

Sheila Gray’s scarves and accessories change not only your clothes from “drab to fab” but transform your look and become an “outfit maker.” bringing out the confident, vibrant and creative side that lies dormant in us all.

Each scarf is handmade with love out of the most luxurious European fabrics, arranging from the cozy sweater, knits to the finest brocades, and plush faux furs, which come together to create a tactile landscape with a sumptuous terrain-each scarf bears a kind of otherworldliness unto itself.

Each neckpiece, necklace, and the cuff is handmade with love and finest European fabrics and a mixture of different elements, such as Agate, Amber, Carnelian, Citrine, Dolomite, and many other beautiful stones. I then mix beads, pearls, metal, and more together to make a one-of-a-kind wonder.

Each piece has a unique and exotic and classic elegance to it, making it a staple piece for anyone’s wardrobe. With my passionate love of fashion and a belief that uniqueness appeals to everyone, I work to make sure each wearer feels special and confident-a place where we all look and feel our very best!

What makes this collection even more special is the fact that through it I can give back, as 10% of all the proceeds will be donated to The Pink Access Cancer foundation.

As for any advice Sheila would give to women battling cancer, she says: “I would tell other women battling cancer to never give up and connect with other women in the battle. Continue to live your life and be hopeful pray, meditate and each day thank God for that day. Take it one day at a time and be proactive in your care research, and research every medicine given to you.”

And what do Kindness and Hope mean to her?

“Kindness and hope to me are love and caring knowing this world is all about more than us and we change things by the love and help we give to others,” she says.

To view her designs, click here, and to donate to the Pink Access Foundation, click here.

One of her designs
melissa

Article by melissa

Melissa Myers is a trained journalist, working in London and New York. She worked for all of the national newspapers in the U.K. as a celebrity journalist and was News Director of In Touch magazine in the U.S. In 2017, she decided to focus on making a difference in the world and launched her website kindnessandhope.org. When she is not publishing real-life stories that seek to inspire those facing adversity, she is feeding 100 homeless people weekly on the West Side of L.A. and helps find rescue animals a home. Melissa also builds websites for a variety of clientele and runs social media campaigns for non-profits. When she isn't surfing, she spends time with her own little rescue pup, Peanut