My name is Dax J. Francis and I started IVYE WEAR this year in the hopes of uplifting and motivating others like me who have spent their lives waiting for the chance to make a difference and to let their voices be heard.
I’ve struggled with health issues most of my life, both physical and mental. I was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney disease, FSGS, when I was 12 years old. It causes scarring to the kidneys due to the passing of protein over the kidney and into the urine rather than filtering back in to the bloodstream. My teenage years were filled with clinic visits, treatments, and tests. I was forced to change and mature in ways that my friends were not, and that has always made it hard to make friends who understand what I and so many others go through. I never fully realized the full extent of my disease until I had to start dialysis when I was 18.
I was on dialysis for 2.5 years before I got that call saying they had a kidney for me. THIS WAS IT!!! I knew my life was about to change, and I savored the moment. The feeling of hope and optimism that comes from knowing you won’t have to go back to that dialysis chair is indescribable, and I was ready for that change. I was ready for my life to go back to “normal.” The transplant went well, and the kidney was performing exceptionally. It was a perfect match. I was on my way to finding my purpose, and doing what I was meant to do, whatever that may be. I enrolled in college a week after the transplant, eager to get back to school and find something to excel in and make a career. I wanted all those things that I saw others doing, and I was finally able to pursue it. My life was finally starting after waiting on dialysis for so long.
And then FSGS recurred in the transplanted kidney. It was less than a month after the surgery. Suddenly, just like that I’m back in that dialysis chair not for dialysis, but for plasmapheresis. A similar treatment with the same machine, but rather than clean my blood they would separate the plasma from my blood and inject me with fresh frozen plasma from donors in a hope to combat the FSGS. It helped enough to allow me to go to school for Social Work, and achieve my degree, but I still had 3 treatments a week. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I did it.
Eventually, the transplanted kidney went into stage 5, end stage renal disease, and plasmapheresis was exchanged for dialysis. In total I’ve been receiving treatment for approximately 9 years now, and there is no end in sight. I started a video blog early this year to help others like myself in similar situations, and because of the great support from the communities I’m involved in it motivated me to do something more with my voice and ideas. This is where IVYE WEAR was born. I wanted others to feel hope and comfort, even in horrible situations, and I never want someone to experience the pain, loneliness, and isolation I experienced from feeling like no one cared or even noticed what I was going through. I wanted to create a platform to give chronic illness patients their voice and the recognition they deserve and so our line of comfortable, stylish, accessible clothing for spoonies was created. All our clothes have zipper access to accommodate a range of medical treatments, as well as to make it easier to take on and off for those with restricted motion. As chronic illness patients we deal with enough, and we deserve products and companies that make our lives easier and more comfortable. We have strived to design these products to accommodate a wide range of needs. Our clothes will help keep you warm, comfortable, and not be suffocating in times of anxiety or stress. A baggy and loose fit will help you stay comfy in uncomfortable situations while the modern styling keeps you looking fresh. All of our material is ethically sourced, and ethically made in the USA, because as chronic illness patients we know what it means to be treated with compassion, empathy, and kindness which are three of IVYE’s core company values along with community. As we grow we hope to bring you more styles, more colors, and more choices because you deserve it as a chronic illness patient.
I hope that me being able to start a business while undergoing dialysis inspires you to take this blueprint and make something bigger and better of your own, because YOU are exactly who you need to be and where you need to be to change the world. You are the change the world has been waiting for, and the world deserves to hear your voice and see your talents because you matter.
You can reach Dax at [email protected].