After a period that lasted a whole year, Sheila Gray knew something was wrong. As a cancer survivor Gray feared the worst. Months went by and doctor after doctor tested her and told her she was fine. It was just a heavy menstrual cycle. Gray refused to accept doctor’s dismal of her pain. She pushed for more answers and was finally led to the right specialist who assigned a name to her symptoms-Endometriosis.
Endometriosis, a disease that affects one in ten women, causes a woman’s uterine lining to grow outside of her uterus often in the ovaries, fallopian tubes or other areas of the body. The tissue build up, break down, and bleed just as they would when you have your period, except it’s happening throughout your body. The symptoms range from extended, heavy periods to intense back and pelvic pain, depression and in many cases, cause infertility.
Tests revealed that Gray had infected tissues in 10-12 places in her body. With this discovery, surgery was scheduled to remove them and Gray was ordered to several weeks of bed rest. As the Design Assistant and Public Relations manager at Byron Lars Beauty Mark and an all around busybody, this news did not sit well with Gray. “What is (bed rest)? I can’t do that, no way!” she said.
Her sheer fear of inactivity and a quick Google search led her crocheting. She picked up the craft in 20 minutes and instantly found relief. “It felt like everything around me was calm, I was so peaceful.” Her therapeutic new art form blossomed into The Sheila Gray Collection.
Today the brand still includes the original crocheted jewelry pieces but has expanded to a full line of accessories. Her signature scarfs mix pieces of fine fabrics and various textures, embodying her eclectic style. “I never realized until I started this collection that I’m a little bit of a hippy!” Reflected Gray. “I can create a mixture of different patterns and textures and some how it all goes together. It feels like divine inspiration.”
From years of illness to her first New York Fashion Week Show on February 8, Gray feels like the whole experience has been a blessing. “Right after I was diagnosed I helped three other people get treatment. I said I think you need to see your doctor, you might have endometriosis, and they did.” Gray continued, “sometimes it’s not about us but it’s about how we can help somebody else. It was all worth it.”
Check out the full Sheila Gray Collection for yourself here!