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Apart from rocking a “5-year-old let loose in the art room” sense of style, Hairbow Hippie uses her super smart tech skills to fight digital accessibility crimes! Her C-PTSD, cluster headaches and chronic daily migraines just means she is not afraid of a little pain and knows how to hold her own in a fight.

If you can’t find her in front of a computer she is likely down at the park or the skate rink, working on her next roller-skating trick.

The Making of a Hairbow Hippie

Growing up Kylie was not provided full bodily autonomy. She was not allowed to grow her hair long until relatively late in high school. She hated her short hair and felt it was much too boyish. Missing out on cute hair styles but also having very thick unruly hair, Kylie started adorning her hair with hairbows. Now hairbows are part of her identity.

From 8 years old Hairbow Hippie started experiencing migraines. It was however much later they became problematic. Following a head injury (head met hammer) she was diagnosed with chronic daily migraines and cluster headaches approximately 11 years ago.

Hairbow Hippie’s headache conditions also cause severe photosensitivity which can induce seizures along with other interesting side effects. Hairbow Hippie also lives with Complex – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). This is due to a number of traumatic incidents throughout her life, including on-going abuse.

Life and Near Death Experiences

Unfortunately, headaches and exhaustion are often the first sign of many illnesses. being unable to determine this as a symptom seperate to the usual daily pain, has led to some pretty scary misdiagnoses and some life threatening conditions.

In one case, a “bad headache day” turned into something much worse. In the space of an hour Hairbow Hippie lost the ability to talk, walk, was violently ill, and lost consciousness while home alone. Thankfully a friend had stopped in to check on her, found her barely responsive and called an ambulance.

Hairbow Hippie was routed to hospital but everyone assumed it was just a bad attack. An injection for vomiting, oxygen for the cluster headache and some sugar they thought would fix it. Unfortunately this was not the case.

While in Emergency, during the space of 10 minutes, Hairbow Hippie lost the ability to move, could not feel any sensations in her body (not even when they jabbed her with needles and put in an IV line), lost vision, started loosing the ability to speak and then lost the feeling of any pain, unheard of for this poor headache suffering gal! When the pain stopped that’s when the panic started setting in and Hairbow Hippie believed she was going to die.

Hairbow Hippie spent a week in hospital in an isolation ward, hooked up to antibiotics and a sugar drip. They performed a lumbar puncture and agreement was bacterial meningitis. She was force fed copious amounts of apple juice, hydrolytes and lollies (candy for any American folks following). Even with the sugar drip, for the first 5 days Hairbow Hippie was unable to maintain her blood sugar levels. Remarkably, Hairbow Hippie recovered with no long lasting effects astounding some of her nurses.

The Stats and Outcome

50% of people who have bacterial meningitis, even with medical interventions do not survive. Few survive with no lasting damage. Hairbow Hippie was given a second lease on life and decided she wanted to spend it doing something meaningful. This is what prompted her to change career direction to focus solely on accessibility.

Hairbow Hippie’s Professional Life

Hairbow Hippie got her first computer in year 9 (way back when we were all worrying about the millennium bug). It was a Pentium II and from that moment she was hooked! She pulled the thing apart, put it back together and got to know as much as she possibly could.

Hairbow Hippie worked part time through her final school years as a computer technician before studying Software Engineering at University where she worked on Research and Development with Andrew Corporation before graduating. After graduating Hairbow Hippie joined a few big organisations including a stint with IBM.

Hairbow Hippie developed a passion for accessibility when experiencing the challenges of working remotely about 7 years BC (Before Covid). Hairbow Hippie first got involved with Australia’s National Broadband Network (nbn)’s Employee Relationship Group (ERG) where she championed for accessibility, raised awareness and progressing the goals of their first Accessibility and Inclusion Plan (AIP). Since then Hairbow Hippie has worked with large and small organisations through a consulting with TTC.

Hairbow Hippie’s Hobbies and Passion Projects

Hairbow Hippie loves to be creative and can be found enjoying many artistic endeavors including

  • Encaustic Art – Painting using coloured beeswax and a heated travel iron. Specifically painting landscapes and fantasyscapes
  • Acrylic paint pouring
  • Diamond Art/Diamond Dots

Additionally Hairbow Hippie loves the great outdoors, especially bushwalking and recently outdoor roller-skating. Keep your eyes open for some interesting blogs around her efforts of learning to skate for the first time, in her late 30’s and it’s impact on improving her C-PTSD.

Hairbow Hippie on Socials

Hairbow Hippie is somewhat of a social media luddite and likes to keep a low profile. However you can find her professional profile on LinkedIn

Should you happen to stumble across her ancient MySpace page, please let her know the details so she can apologise to her Neopet (poor thing has been abandoned for years).