Amanda Heslinga, a young woman who lives in Columbus, Ohio, started her own business, Rocks with Sass, with one platform in mind: Raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s Disease is chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Heslinga started Rocks with Sass as a way to raise funds for her first Crohn’s walk. She said she felt awkward asking people for money, so she decided to sell the jewelry she creates.
She said being diagnosed with the debilitating illness eight years ago has helped her dreams come true.
“It’s actually a blessing that I have Crohn’s because if I didn’t, I would still be working for corporate America, for someone else, making someone else’s dreams come true instead of my own,” said Heslinga. “Yes, I have this disease, and some days I don’t feel well, but on those days, I just don’t work or I do something that I can accomplish while lying on the couch.”
Rocks with Sass has become a reminder for Heslinga to take care of herself.
“Something that I didn’t realize until later on was that your health should always come first,” said Heslinga. “Put your priorities in the right order.”
She said that even though she has this disease, she would not be where she is today if it weren’t for it.
“It’s just kind of part of me,” said Heslinga. “I’m proud of it because I’ve overcome something so difficult, and I’m not just getting through life. I’m succeeding, I’m meeting all of my goals and dreams that I’ve set for myself.”
Her advice for those who are recently diagnosed or still trying to figure out what to do is to take advantage of all the resources and don’t think asking for help is a sign of weakness.
“I’m not weak because I have this disease. What I’ve overcome, makes me stronger,” said Heslinga. “I know 100 percent I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t have Crohn’s, so for that, I’m very thankful.”
A portion of the profits from Rocks with Sass is donated to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Shop Rocks with Sass here.