My name is Angie Poller and I live in Ripley in Queensland. My business is called Heat Wear You Need It. I make a range of wearable hot and cold pads and the ‘not water bottle’. I put an orange ribbon on every pack I sell as a way to raise awareness about complex regional pain syndrome.

It began in my early 20s. I always wanted to be a special effects make-up artist, so I decided to put myself through college and to earn the money to do that, I worked at a factory. I was just about to start the part of the course I wanted to do when I tore a nerve in my neck at work. It went undiagnosed for 13 months and in that time it turned into an incurable condition. The only thing that would help was direct heat. The pain was unrelenting; I would tie pads to myself, so I started working on my own version – it was a two year process getting the grains recipe right, and the design came after that.

I was retired, I was unemployable. My disease spread really quickly and I was dealing with that for a good ten years before I had kids. Then the relationship became violent and I had to decide to leave and take the kids with me. I was a single mum with a three- and a five-year-old, I didn’t have any money to put into the business and so it just sat with me for 15 years until I found Global Sisters. They popped up on my newsfeed one day and because it was just for women, I thought I’d give it a try. As well as the support and knowledge through the Sister School program, they provided me with practical things like a sewing machine, and they gave me the confidence to know that if you fall, there’s someone there to catch you, always, no matter what time of day or night.

Balancing food, fabric and my physical pain is a juggle but I want to make the business work until it gives back. I want to put money towards awareness and research, but before that, I need to get the business to a point where it’s profitable. I can’t physically sew forever, and I have friends who are dying from this disease because there is no cure. I see my products in schools, hospitals, golf clubs. I want this to be a success and a safety net, but I’ve learnt that you’ve got to have patience. Things take time, they really do.

My disease is going to keep getting worse, I can never escape it. The business gives me hope, which is a different sort of energy. Seeing people are helped by my products, that’s what gets me through.

This whole journey has either been a series of mistakes or happy accidents. I’m happy to take leaps of faith - Global Sisters will stop me if it’s not right, I know.

Angie PollerHeat Wear You Need It