The primary aim of YEGzema is to provide support to all Edmontonians that suffer from eczema. Eczema is a skin condition that causes extremely itchy, red, dry, and flaky skin and can lead to bleeding. The most common type of eczema is Atopic Dermatitis, which is an inherited chronic skin condition that affects approximately 20 per cent of Canadians at some point in their lives. Fluctuations in temperature, allergies and stress are some examples of the triggers that can cause eczema flare-ups. Furthermore, the climate in Edmonton, Alberta can exacerbate the condition as the temperature changes drastically and the dry air provides little moisture for skin.
In addition to the physical effects of eczema, the condition can affect an individual’s mental health in ways that can be just as damaging. As someone who has suffered from eczema for the past 18 years, I have experienced many flare-ups that have caused me to miss school or work because I physically could not move due to the pain. These instances have severely impacted my self-esteem and I often chose to stay in my house so no one could see me. Although it is still a constant struggle, I have started to try new things over the past years and have figured out new approaches to managing my eczema, in addition to standard oral medications and creams.
I want to share my experiences with fellow eczema sufferers, as I have a first-hand understanding of what people living with the condition can go through. My first goal is to provide non-medical advice about lifestyle choices that can help eczema, such as dietary changes. My second, and most important goal, is to listen to, support and encourage eczema sufferers who need someone to talk to. The format would be one-on-one support sessions at local public locations, such as coffee shops.
Who Will it Benefit?
YEGzema will benefit eczema sufferers located in Edmonton through in-person, one-on-one meetings. There are no known eczema support groups in Edmonton.
When my eczema pushed me to the lowest point in my life and I was lacking all self-confidence, I wanted nothing more than to talk to someone who truly understood how I felt. I not only want to be supportive and encouraging of each persons’ self-worth, reminding them that even though eczema is noticeable it isn’t what really counts, I believe that I have the life experience and compassion to do it.
This initiative will also benefit the loved ones of eczema sufferers. I would provide advice on how to care for and support an individual who suffers from eczema. Additionally, watching someone go through the struggles of eczema can be difficult and damaging and I would provide emotional support to their friends and family. I believe the support I can offer fellow Edmontonians with eczema will have a broader impact on the community because if I can help just one person with eczema to feel more comfortable with themselves, they might gain the courage and strength to help another person with eczema.
I would like this to eventually expand beyond Edmonton, but I’d like to start somewhere close to my heart – a place where I know eczema sufferers hide, and to provide a place for those people to reach out for help.