My 6-year-old daughter Holly has suffered from severe eczema since birth – a debilitating disease that has greatly inhibited her life.
I was shocked to learn that almost one in three children in Australia suffer from eczema and that we have the highest incidence of eczema in the world. However despite its prevalence in Australia, there is still very little awareness around the severity of this disease.
As the official spokesperson of Eczema Awareness Week along with Holly, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you her story and why eczema awareness is so important.
I noticed redness around Holly’s chin when she was just a few weeks old but I dismissed it as a “dribble” rash. In the following weeks and months I realised something more serious was at play and eventually Holly was diagnosed with eczema.
Despite my best efforts to make her well, Holly’s eczema deteriorated to the point she was frequently hospitalised and wasn’t able to leave the house unless covered in wet bandages. It got to the stage where her doctor was set to put her on immune suppressants, which he really didn’t want to do because of the serious potential side effects.
I’d like people to know it’s not just a little itch there are many severe cases, like Holly’s, that stop people from living a fulfilled life. In Holly’s case it was hard to go out … she was itching, bleeding, weeping, wrapped in wet bandages waking up all night – she had no quality of life at times and was in severe discomfort and pain.
However thanks to a team of supporters, which includes the Eczema Association of Australasia (EEA) and Avene Hydrotherapy Centre and products, Holly’s eczema is well under control and she is now enjoying life as a 6-year-old should – loving playing with her friends, acting and singing.
My message to other families is – don’t ever give up, never stop looking. There’s always something to help you just have to find it.
I could not have got through the tough times without the support of the EEA and Avene's products. I would ring the EEA up, it didn’t matter what time. Sometimes I just needed to talk to someone. Sometimes I would just be in tears. You need that support.
To support Eczema Awareness Week visit eczema.org.au or phone 1300 300 182.
Find out more about Holly here: