We’re going to have a slight change of subject for this week’s blog, from fashion which we always love to talk about, to health. Lipoedema to be precise.

Some of you might know this, but the main reason Wingz were created and designed is because of  Lipoedema. It’s not something that everyone has heard of or indeed knows very much about, and many women find that if they go to their GP complaining about the symptoms, they just get turned away and sent home with a diet sheet. Michelle Ellis, Wingz designer and inventor has lipoedema herself, and designed Wingz to help her cover her arms.

Lipoedema is a very real disease that affects around 15 per cent of women. It usually starts at times of hormonal upheaval – you might notice that you start accumulating stubborn fat on the tops of your arms or your legs, and no matter what you do, you just can’t shift it.

The fat feels different to normal cellulite or body fat – it can feel cool to touch, and quite painful too. In some women (and occasionally men) the fat is a mild problem that just doesn’t look nice, but in some people it’s a really awful condition that can lead to immobility in extreme cases.

lipoedema wingz

One lady who has been in the media recently is Vicki Hull – she was due to appear on This Morning this week (although the slot has been postponed) and her story featured in the national press.

The Woman with the EIGHT stone legs

Vicki, who is a member of LipoedemaLadies, is trying to raise money for an operation to cure her lipoedema.  She struggles to walk because her legs are so painful, and their weight puts massive strain on her hips and knees. The size of her legs means she can’t even enjoy a bath any and she weighs 16 stone – half of which comes from the weight of her legs.

It’s ridiculous that an operation to give Vicki a special type of liposuction is classed as cosmetic, and that she has to resort to crowdfunding to raise enough money to give her a pain-free life. She was asking for help from her GP for years before she was even diagnosed with lipoedema, and it caused her to try and take her own life because nobody would take her condition seriously.

Typically, she was made fun of by ignorant strangers because of the size of her legs, too. If she doesn’t manage to raise the £20,000 she needs, things could get even worse.

Doctors have said my tree-trunk legs will grow and grow and I will become immobile, eventually ending up in a wheelchair. I’m already at an advanced stage so it’s just a matter of time and this surgery is my only option.

‘But as the NHS views it as a cosmetic procedure – despite the agonising pain this causes me – I need to raise this money to get my life back.”

If you feel like helping Vicki with her quest for surgery, her GoFundMe page is at: https://www.gofundme.com/29drgknm

If you think you might have symptoms of lipoedema, you can find out more at: http://www.lipoedema.co.uk/

There’s also a petition to make surgery available on the NHS for people with lipoedema, and you can sign it here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/162684