When Bridget Carmady lost her father and sister to Cancer, her practice of Naturopathy helped her heal.
Growing up on acreage in the NSW Hunter Valley helped Bridget see nature as a remedy from an early age. “Mum instilled in me the power of natural medicine. She was a bit of a hippy at heart and illnesses were often treated with herbs and natural supplements, rather than conventional medicine,” she says. Bridget’s first experiments with homemade, natural skincare involved concoctions designed to soothe skin conditions and improve scar healing.
Her interest continued into adulthood where she obtained a degree in Naturopathy and a career in complementary medicine research. It was during her study that her father was diagnosed with throat cancer. As a talented musician, he declined an operation to remove his voice box and underwent chemotherapy.
When doctors gave her father a petroleum-based cream to soothe his radiation burn, Bridget knew that she could create something better. “I had done enough research to know that there was a lot of evidence to show herbs could be beneficial for radiation dermatitis, and I was determined to ensure my Dad got the best possible care,” explains Bridget. “The balm I made for Dad was a fairly simple recipe, but it was enough to ensure he didn’t get any radiation dermatitis, which meant less pain for him.”
Supporting her father through his treatment with the natural balm helped her through the process. “It allowed me to feel helpful to my parents at a very difficult time… When a family member or friend is ill, I think the best feeling is to feel useful,” she says.
Tragically, he lost his battle with cancer only a year after diagnosis. His parting words to Bridget were, “be strong” and though she admits that sometimes it’s difficult to live that advice, she does feel her father’s strength in hard times.
Seeing how much her balm helped with her father’s radiation dermatitis pushed her to create Clémence Organics. There’s no doubt that the strength imparted onto Bridget by her father allowed her to persevere through the challenges of launching a business. Along with working on a start-up, Bridget also juggled the responsibility of caring for two young children and supporting her family through her sister’s battle with Breast Cancer.
Clémence Organics is one of the ways that Bridget strives for a well-lived life. The loss of her father and sister opened her eyes to the importance of prioritising health, including what we put on our skin. “I think it’s important to remember that you are in control of your life and your health. Try to make changes, even small ones, that move you towards a healthier and happier life. Educate yourself, empower yourself and surround yourself with good people,” says Bridget.
She hopes that with Clémence Organics, she can inspire others to take time for self-care using natural, healthy ingredients. “I love taking the time to clean my skin and then feed it with certified organic skincare. It makes my skin feel good and makes me feel good,” she says.
For Bridget, helping her father made her realise how something simple can change someone’s life. Through Clémence Organics, she continues to play this role in her customer’s lives and relishes this connection. “I get so many lovely messages telling me how my products have helped with long-term skin issues, often after trying a raft of skincare brands and spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. When someone says my products have changed their life, it’s a pretty amazing feeling,” she says.
Her advice to anyone going through a challenging time is to remember that life is precious and to try make the most of every situation. “I think the best thing you can do is to turn experiences of loss and hardship into something positive,” Bridget explains. “We all have dark and difficult times but know that these times will pass and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t waste what precious time you have.”
Bridget believes that Clémence Organics is a way for her father’s memory to live on. Her ability to find something beautiful in life’s toughest times is a testament to her strength, as is her gratitude. “I think my experiences made me stronger and gave me amazing perspective. I no longer sweat the small stuff and try to do what I can to help others. I now truly appreciate the life that I have and am grateful for every day I get to spend on this earth,” she says. We can all be inspired by her desire to seek positivity and her chosen Powerpants affirmation, “I am grateful.”
“These two experiences have changed me forever. I will never take my life for granted, and I endeavour to make it well-lived and memorable,” she says.
"I will never take my life for granted."