My name is Kylee. I am a 24 year old girl based in New Zealand who loves life and loves her friends. I am passionate about being able to do something to help make a difference for others going through acute/chronic illness and/or tragedy after battling with it myself. Let me give you a bit of background about myself and how 'Spirit Sparkplugs' developed.

In November 2008 I had a minor kickboxing accident which resulted in what turned out to be life changing circumstances. No one could have predicted the journey, but it has turned out to be one of the hardest things I have walked through to date. Never the less, I like to try and view everything I go through from a positive angle if I can and it has opened up doors that I otherwise never would have opened as well. I developed something called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, otherwise known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. CRPS is a disease of the nervous system causing extreme and severe pain, and for me, the inability to walk or move correctly due to messages no longer getting through correctly to my limbs (I lost full use of my left hand side which I am fighting to regain use of). CRPS causes many symptoms and other internal complications. There are different severities of RSD ranging from pain in one limb but with the ability to still be able to get on with life, to full body CRPS with internal involvement which causes a whole range of issues and complications. 

My CRPS developed full body very quickly. I had five months 100% bed bound and care giver dependent (early 2009), as I was unable to walk, move my body on my own or tolerate clothing on my skin, as it caused intense burning pain. I had some experimental treatments in May 2009 which helped and got me to a place I could start moving a little bit again, start to tolerate wearing clothes and learn to be able to sit again (I had been flat back since my accident), but still could not walk without a special frame and a lot of help. I have come a long way but I still have a very long way to go. Regardless of all of this I have fought really hard and have regained 60% use of my left hand. Although I am still home bound I am working at becoming more independent every day. I continue to push through and try and make something of my every day. I didn't want to sit around and do nothing so I started finding things to keep me going and developed some of my own rehab skills to help me regain the functions I had lost and to stop from losing any more...

I started doing craft to help coordinate hand-eye coordination, develop sitting tolerance, to employ the use my left hand again by putting things in it and try to help gain some control over the tremors, jerking and spasms I was experiencing (and still deal with). I first started making cards and then moved onto the 'encouragement books' for friends. I had no idea how much they would mean to others and was surprised and excited by the responses that I received.... That is when I decided to open it up to people who followed my caringbridge page going through a hard time, if they would like to request one I would make it for them - free of charge.

It came to the point that I didn't know what to call the books when I was talking about them. I wasn't happy with the name, so I opened up a competition on caringbridge for a name contest. I put out a challenge to all who followed my caringbridge page that whoever could come up with the best name or suggestion for the books would receive a prize at the end. I had hundreds of different entries, which were all so amazing but at the end of the two weeks, I went with the name "Spirit Sparkplugs", as it was different, catchy and at the same time captured the heart of what I was trying to do with the books, 'Sparkplugs' to 'ignite the spirit', filling it with encouragement, hope, and courage and blessing. It was another entry that although was too long for a name, also captured another part of what I was trying to do with the books and that then became the motto - "Hopeful words when life throws you curve-balls". 

December 2009 I decided to open a website to make it easier for people to see what the books I was talking about were, to make it easier to able to request them for others and get all the info I needed in one request instead of the multiple emails that were going back and forth... Five months later here we are today (May 2010). It has been an eye opener getting the site ready to launch. I had no idea how much work and time it would take to create. Its been a huge learning curve, but I know all things come together in the right time and its been a longer process for a reason. I believe that God is in it and I am just following through with my heart. He has proved so incredibly faithful to me.

As I started developing the website, I decided to open up the name "Spirit Sparkplugs" to encompass a range of different projects, that would cater to the younger children through to adults who are all going through different life changing and challenging circumstances. I am not charging for them, I do not want those who are going through a hard time to have to then pay for them. I am hoping through the kindness of others I will not ever have to look into charging for them. Donations and materials are most kindly accepted and appreciated to keep this ministry afloat... I might be only be one girl, but my hope is to eventually get others on board who are willing to help me with some of the load of making and getting these projects to get them out to those who need them in the time frame that would most bless that person or family.

I can only hope that through this website, all the work that goes into it and those that benefit from it are blessed. I know how important it has been to me in my journey for encouragement and support. I could not have done it so well without my family, friends and caringbridge supporters. I am truly blessed. I hope this site goes on to bless many other also walking hard roads and worse....

If you would like to learn more about my journey so far or would like to follow my own ongoing personal battle up against CRPS.  Please visit my caringbridge journal, I would love to see you at: www.caringbridge.org/visit/kyleeblack

If you have any further questions, leave me a guestbook message either here or caringbridge. Alternatively flick me an email.

Much love always, Kylee xx

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