A group of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities has released a music single to help raise awareness, funds and self-esteem.
The Chronically Fabulous group was set up by Armagh model Felicity McKee, (pictured), who has herself battled anorexia, and photographer, Debbie Deboo.
From their first steps in establishing the group they have come a long way.
And the single – under the name ‘The Fabronics’ – is the latest step.
It features among its singers three locals: Tracy McConnell, who has klippel feil syndrome, a degenerative life limiting condition, kidney transplant patient Neil Robinson, and Felicity herself.
Felicity is proud of what has been achieved and looks back proudly on the group’s efforts.
The Armagh woman was forced to give up on her dream career as a diagnostic radiographer as a result of anorexia.
For that reason, Felicity, a student at Queen’s University Belfast, is involved with the group – which is in the process of working towards official charity status – aimed at helping others with a chronic condition improve their self-esteem.
Chronically Fabulous was borne from a creative photoshoot between Debbie and Felicity, both of whom suffer from chronic illness, and who were discussing how illness and disability are presented in the fashion industry and the media.
They know, of course, that those who are ill and/or disabled are every bit as interested in fashion, in looking glamorous, as anyone else – in truth they are as fabulous as anyone else!
The photoshoot was published in Ondine Magazine and Debbie and Felicity developed the concept of Chronically Fabulous, which would be a completely free and not-for-profit service for those suffering long-term illness and disability.
Speaking to friends and colleagues, they put together the Chronically Fabulous team of photographers, stylists, make-up artists and hairstylists to offer ‘Chronically Fabulous Days’ to those with illness/disability, providing a free makeover and digital prints, along with a ‘goodie bag’ at the end packed with treats from supportive local businesses.
The days are entirely free for the models – one of the most important concepts behind Chronically Fabulous is that money plays no part – this is about coming together to offer something nice to others, just because they can!
And in the last year since it started Chronically Fabulous has already done 27 photoshoots!
Now the group is gearing up to launch the single – ‘Choronically Fabulous Tonight’.
Felicity explained how it came about.
She said: “One of the first people to receive a makeover was Anna Murphy, who co-runs AA Music and is a neighbour of Debbie.
“Inspired by the day itself and by a poem Debbie had written about long-term illness, Anna wrote ‘Chronically Fabulous Tonight’, a delightful and uplifting song that perfectly captures the spirit of Chronically Fabulous!
“It is being recorded professionally – Anna Murphy and Tracy McConnell, who is disabled with Klippel-Feil Syndrome, are lead vocalists – with a supporting choir.
“It will be released on June 24, with a big launch party at The Maple Leaf – one of Belfast’s most amazing clubs and which is soon to be demolished, and so this will be one of the last events ever to take place at that incredible venue.
“Lady Portia de Monte is MC for the night, with seven acts performing – fire-eaters, poets and musicians. And everyone is giving their time for free!
“That is the wonderful spirit of Chronically Fabulous. With the single, the hope is that this will help with PR for the venture, a means to continue to outreach into the community and let even more people know about what is on offer.
“It is all about giving something positive to society, and creating a true sense of community and togetherness amongst those who are long-term sick and/or disabled, an opportunity to come together in a spirit of friendship, support and understanding.”
The single is only 99p to download, as it is a fundraising song, but people can also share the video – as all awareness is welcome.