Crohn’s sufferer celebrates award

Crohn’s sufferer celebrates award
Herald Scotland
22.03.10


A grandmother given less than a month to live has scooped a £30,000 business award after designing her own beachwear range.


Doctors told 54-year-old Victoria Lee, from Renfrewshire, she had just a 4% chance of survival when undergoing surgery for the effects of the crippling digestive condition Crohn’s disease 18 months ago.


Her treatment meant she had to be fitted with a colostomy bag and when she came across the ‘ugly’ swimsuits available for people such as her, she decided to create her own special designs.


The Glitter Beach range, to be launched in three weeks’ time, won first prize at a top entrepreneurial event at the weekend.


Grandmother-of-one Ms Lee was awarded a £30,000 support package, including £5,000 cash, after beating 200 competitors at the Bright Business Idea challenge at the SECC in Glasgow.


The swimwear features a detachable belt that can be clipped on to the garment for people with bags to hide them.


A percentage from its sales will go to local hospitals and charities to research Crohn’s disease.


Stockists from as far afield as Canada and the US are said to be interested in the range.


The former nurse said: ‘I’d looked at swimwear for people with my condition but the stuff available was so ugly no-one would wear it. With the majority of it, you could still see someone’s colostomy bag, so it became obvious to me that whoever had designed these things had clearly never had a bag themselves.


‘I began doodling on the back of an envelope ideas for my own glamorous beach wear range, suitable for both people with bags and without. After recovering from serious surgery, I decided to launch my own firm. I want to help patients like me get their dignity and self-worth back.’