Making Invisible Illnesses #Visible
Creating a unique jersey to help those suffering from invisible illness to feel visible.
96% of the disabilities lived with worldwide are invisible. This includes physical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, diabetes and others — but also mental illness.
After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2020, Sam Gray decided to address the stigma that had led to him hiding symptoms ending in hospitalisation. Without easy access to information and shame at the nature of the illness, like 2 in 3 men, Sam hid what he was going through from his family, friends and doctors.
As a cyclist, Sam understood the importance of visibility and drew an immediate parallel to the kinds of disabilities that are harder to see. On the bike, being seen can save your life, once an invisible illness is discussed and shared, problems become easier, solutions can be found, stigma and shame disappear. Starting with his instagram account, inspired by his yellow and pink Ribble Bike, @Rhubarbara, Sam began sharing his story and his recovery journey through cycling, aiming to create a safe space for others to share what they’re going through.
Working in collaboration with KYTE and illustrator Kyle Platts, Sam has helped to develop a unique Jersey to raise the profile of invisible illness and money for two charities directly helping those who suffer, Crohn's & Colitis UK and Mind UK.
Themed around visibility, the design turns the “charity jersey” on its head. Working with KYTE and Kyle means that style and performance are at the heart of the jersey. Instead of sitting at the bottom of the drawer with the other charity sportive kit, we’ve created a desirable item of cycling style that is both a regular on-bike piece and a signifier to talk and share.
Kyle Platts is an illustrator and animator with a comedic and edgy style. His boldly graphic work has grown a cult following. Kyle’s clients including Lazy Oaf, Converse, GQ and Blast Skates.