February is Turner Syndrome (TS) Awareness Month, and the Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF) has several awareness and educational activities throughout the month. One of them is a blog hop and cardmaking challenge (see more information below). As a woman with TS, it is so heartwarming to see people come together to spread awareness about the condition and help improve the lives of TS patients and parents/caregivers. Always remember that you are enough!
Why This Month Is Important to Me
I was diagnosed with mosaic TS at the age of 19, during my sophomore year of college. As you can see from the graphic above, only 1-2% of fetuses with TS will survive to birth, which is a pretty stunning fact. I didn’t learn this until just this past year, and it floored me. But then I thought about it. What an incredible opportunity we with TS have been given to show our strength and resilience!
Often, TS and other medical disorders are framed as what is “missing.” We are missing two complete X chromosomes. We may not be able to have biological children. Or we may have challenges due to certain cognitive issues or learning disabilities, like Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). Sometimes we are limited because of our physical challenges, like short stature, hearing loss, kidney and heart issues, and autoimmune disorders.
Well, I am here to tell you that you are enough. You can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. And you can do it at your own pace and on your own terms. You are not “missing” anything; you add beauty to the world because of the challenges you have faced and the steps you have taken to cope with them.
Why a Butterfly?
Those of us with TS are often referred to as butterflies. A friend recently asked me why that was, and I have to admit that I didn’t have a great answer. So I did a little research. As Karen, a woman with TS recently said in a TSF Facebook Live performance event and discussion, it may be because butterflies are delicate but strong. Or because they are small but make a huge impact on the world. Maybe because they are so diverse and come in many beautiful colors and patterns, like women with TS.
One of the descriptions that really touched me was from an episode of Brooke TV’s Turner Syndrome Thursdays on YouTube (Turner Syndrome: Why a Butterfly?). I encourage you to watch this five-minute video. She talks about how the original logo came from genetics–the X resembling a butterfly with its wings spread. As awareness and support for the TS community grew, the butterfly symbol came to represent the metamorphosis from a difficult beginning (the caterpillar) to its emergence as a strong, beautiful being (the butterfly). The butterfly has become a symbol of strength and perseverance for the TS community. We have overcome health, emotional, and social challenges and emerged stronger. So claim the butterfly symbol! You are enough!
Blog Hop and Card Challenge
Now for the fun part! The Third Annual “It’s A Girl Thing” Turner Syndrome Awareness Blog Hop and Card Challenge is going on through February 28th. Click on the link above to see a list of 12 craft/card making blogs that you can visit and comment on to earn prizes. You must comment on each blog to win a prize, and you can win multiple prizes. Each blogger has designed one or more cards for TS Awareness Month. These supporters are from all over the world and have provided information about TS to help spread awareness. Please check them out!
In addition to the blog hop, if you are crafty like me, you can make a card to enter in the card challenge (by February 28th). There is even a mood board for inspiration. Below the blog hop participants, you will see the almost 100 cards that people have entered in the competition, whose winner will be announced on March 13th.
Special shout-out to TSF volunteer and Awareness Committee member Lori Kobular, whose adult daughter has TS, for making this awesome event happen! Lori is an avid card maker and designer, and she has a wealth of information and craft work on her My Turner Syndrome Journey blog. Lori also donates cards to TSF for sale in its online shop (Send a Gift section).
I started making holiday cards several years ago. Every year, I make about 70 cards to send to friends and family. I love putting a smile on their faces, knowing that their card was made with love by me. I entered the three cards below (use the arrows to scroll through all three) in the “It’s a Girl Thing” card challenge. My inspiration was butterflies, of course, and positive messages related to TS.
“You are enough” came to my mind first, for the reasons I explained above. The second card, “X-tra special” is a play on the X0 karyotype (classic TS). And the third, “Oh, happy day,” is a beautiful butterfly that my crafty bestie found and gave to me. They all have inspirational messages inside, too.
To make the cards, I used watercolor, glitter, and pearlescent paper; glitter letters; a lace-pattern paper punch; metal die cuts; foil; butterfly stamps; and lots of jewels and embellishments (I love sparkle!). My favorite part was making the little butterflies for the first card, which I cut with dies; foiled, using double-sided adhesive strips; layered; and then applied to the card with foam squares, to make them 3-dimensional. Oh, and I added jewels to the butterflies’ antennae, of course. Scroll through the photos below to see some of the materials I used.[Note: I am not promoting any of these products; they’re just what I used.]
I had so much fun doing this challenge and plan to make more cards for TSF to sell in its online shop. I am going to donate these three cards to TSF as a set, so if you are interested, check out the shop soon (Send a Gift section)!
Written by Susan Herman, TSF volunteer blog post editor and translator.
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