Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease is stressful enough, and having to wear an unattractive medical alert bracelet every day is not a calming reminder. This is where Mt. Vista High School student Shyanne, founder of Couture Alert, stepped in.
In 2008, Shyanne was diagnosed with several blood disorders that required her to wear a medical alert bracelet. Rather than let her situation get her down, Shyanne decided to create a medical alert bracelet that would empower her. "When I was first diagnosed with these blood disorders, I did wonder 'why me,' but that line of thinking wasn’t doing me any good and in fact, was making it more difficult on myself and those around me," Shyanne said. Her doctors also treated children with cancer, and she was inspired by the kids, many younger than her, who were so strong while fighting for their lives. "I didn’t know back then how I’d do it but I knew that I wanted to make a difference and somehow spread awareness. That knowledge was enough to get me through the really difficult times and ultimately led me to create Couture Alert."
Shyanne's designs, apart from serving a vital purpose, are fashionable and unique. Not a surprise given that she has always had an interest in fashion. "It’s a big part of why I wanted to start Couture Alert. I didn’t want the metal chain link bracelet I was required to wear to define me; instead I wanted to make my own statement. I am proud when I look down and see my bracelet now and I love that it causes people to stop and ask questions." She's sure that Couture Alert will not be her last fashion venture: "I love what I am doing and look forward to finding new ways to make my mark in both fashion and business."
Shyanne has only just started - she wants Couture Alert to continue and grow: "I have big plans for Couture Alert and feel like I’ve only just begun." Recently, when she was an exhibitor at a local craft show, four individuals approached her about their need for a medical alert bracelet - all of them chose not to wear bracelets against the advice of their doctors. In fact, one of the women had had multiple episodes that week and still chose not to wear a bracelet. At that point, Shyanne knew what she had to do. "She said some things that I could definitely relate to – she hated the options out there and ultimately, chose fashion over safety. I walked away knowing that I had my work cut out for me. I don’t think that I can stop what I am doing until I’ve at least made diabetics, epileptics, hemophiliacs, severe allergy patients, autistics and all the other individuals required to wear medical alert or ID bracelets aware that they have a choice." Shyanne hopes to work with medical providers and insurance companies to find a way to make medical alert bracelets available to all patients whether they be her own design or someone elses. "I’d love to see insurance companies allow some reimbursement to patients for medical alert bracelets and I hope that I can help make this happen."
Shyanne has touched so many people's lives with her products, including a little boy with Cerebral Palsy: "He stopped by with his family at an event I was working at to pick it up and the look on his face was something I will never forget. He couldn’t believe that it was for him and his face lit up when he saw his name on the bracelet. It made me appreciate all that I have been given and grateful that I could help him in this small way and that I could give his family peace of mind at the same time. "
Truly an inspiration, Shyanne's civic involvement goes further than Couture Alert. "I found that the more I was doing for others, the less I focused on my illness. More than a year ago I joined my schools FCCLA, a volunteer program. I lettered my first year and enjoyed it so much that I am back again for my senior year. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process of helping others, I feel so fortunate that my high school offers a program like this."
Shyanne plans to continue expanding Couture Alert, and will enter college next fall to study Business.
If you'd like to learn more about Couture Alert or purchase one of their products, visit their Facebook page.