Caldicot mum's lifesaving business going from strength to strength
8:02pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
Kathleen Millard of Caldicot has started working as a seamstress as a way of helping her overcome her illness (802818)
EVERY day Caldicot mum Kathleen Millard takes a cocktail of 23 tablets to deal with crippling pain.
A few years ago it nearly became too much, as her previously mild symptoms became much worse and started to impact on everything she did.
The 50-year-old suffers from spondylosis, degenerative osteoarthritis of the joints between the centre of the spinal vertebrae and/or neural foraminae.
For years the mum-of-four had limited movement in her neck and right arm, but was told by a doctor to keep going.
But by 2009, she had a flare up as more cartilage wore away, making her neck and lumbar region extremely painful.
She was forced to retire from her role as an occupational therapist at Chepstow Community Hospital in 2010, but a year later, a spinal injection gave her a bit of a reprieve.
She used sewing as therapy and by July 2012 she had started her own business.
'Sew n Sew' is now going from strength to strength and Mrs Millard has made cushions, alterations to bridalwear and prom gowns, along with making dresses from scratch, for hundreds of customers.
She said: "If it wasn't for Sew n Sew, I don't know where I would be today. It has been a lifesaver, I love it. When I can't sleep at 4am I can go and do some unpicking."
Encouraged by her four children Tobias, 23, Matthew, 26, Micheal, 27, Dionne, 25 and husband Gary 55, Mrs Millard, who used to make Marks and Spencer's underwear for ex-Portskewett business Leffman's, has seen the orders continue to pour in.
Her sons have helped prepare a special room, where she can sit by her sewing machine for 20 minutes before having to walk around as she gets uncomfortable.
Mrs Millard is now hoping others in similar situations will read her story and find the courage to battle back.
"It doesn't mean life has to stop," she said. "There is light at the end of the tunnel once you acknowledge nothing is going to change. I was grieving for the old job I loved but I feel like I am needed again now."
As a next step, Mrs Millard is hoping to take in work experience pupils from Caldicot School.
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