Woman overcoming physical obstacles to spread positivity through business

Woman overcoming physical obstacles to spread positivity through business

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - An Anderson Township woman is determined to make a difference by overcoming her physical challenges and spreading positivity.

At first glance, Andrea Whitley's physical ailments may not be noticeable, but she said they challenge her every day.

"I can dislocate very easy. You have a lot of muscle cramps, a lot of muscle pain. Your joints don't move quite the way they're supposed to," Whitley said.

Whitley was diagnosed with EDS, or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, at 16-years-old. It's a rare disorder that means she is lacking connective tissue.

She has learned to live with it, but it doesn't necessarily get easier. Carrying things, writing or even sitting for too long can be tough.

"I'll get a phone call, and I do laps around the middle of the house just to shift because if you sit for too long, things tend to lock or shift or dislocate," Whitley said.

On an EDS pain scale, Whitley said she is a 10 out of 10 which prevents her from partaking in family activities like long bike rides or a backyard game of football.

"That's where it stinks when you feel like you can't participate and do the things that you want to do," Whitley said.

Treatment is available, but there is no cure. Whitley said that has made finding a long-term job a grueling task, so she launched her own business, "Blessed Attire," in 2016. 

Whitley runs the blossoming faith-based business out of her home. She designs her own graphics and runs her own website and social media accounts.

She sells t-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts for men, women and children. Every item boasts a phrase, like "Thankful. Grateful. Blessed." Whitley said the clothing is meant to spread smiles.

Having the strength to start each day and power through the pain can be difficult, but Whitley said she wants to use her physical challenges and her work to inspire those around her, including her own daughter who has now also been diagnosed with EDS.

"It's getting a positive message out, spreading something kind, in a world that's just become so chaotic and so crazy," Whitley said. "If one shirt can spark one conversation or make one person's day better, then I've done my job."

Whitley said she also sells totes with positive messages printed on them and is working on starting a jewelry line.

To learn more about "Blessed Attire," you can visit the Facebook page or website.

For more information on Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, there are many resources available including the Ehler-Danlos Society or the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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