EVENT DATE: Nov 04, 2012
Update on October 11, 2012: Now I’m Running to Stop Even More Itching!
I’m so overwhelmed and touched by everyone’s support in my efforts to raise money for the National Eczema Association as I run the New York City Marathon on November 4th. Thank you! I’m now so close to my $100 per mile goal (for a total of $2,620) that I’m itching to do more and run with more determination for a cure!
I have now upped my goal to $150 per mile ($3,930). All funds raised support better treatments, education, and research toward a cure for eczema, a disease that has greatly affected my family.
Not only will I be running for my family members with eczema, but also for all people suffering from the non-stop itching and challenges the disease presents. Help me Stop the Itch and reach my $150 per mile goal!
Running to Stop the Itch
By some stroke of luck, I was one of the 8-12% of applicants that secured a lottery spot to run the New York City Marathon on November 4, 2012. Some people enter the lottery for years and never are so fortunate. I got in on my first try. My first thought, after I ecstatically realized my luck, was that I needed to give back in some way. I owed fate a favor.
So now I’m Running to Stop the Itch in support of the National Eczema Association (NEA), with a lofty goal of raising $2,620 ($100 per mile for the 26.2 miles that is a marathon) over the next 9 weeks. Will you help me reach my goal?
The National Eczema Association is at the forefront of eczema research, support, and education. NEA has a very special place in our family’s lives; they helped us through some very rough times with our daughter Natalie when she was a young girl suffering from severe eczema. You can read Natalie’s story below.
The National Eczema Association helped us understand the disease, provided opportunities for us to talk to and meet others facing similar issues with eczema, and provided a strong, very personal support when we were frustrated, exhausted, and didn’t have anywhere else to turn.
Thankfully, Natalie’s eczema flares are now much less severe. We think she has outgrown a lot of the eczema, and we have learned more about skin care and allergy maintenance routines to help keep the eczema at bay most of the time. But others aren’t so lucky, and find themselves in the same desperate and overwhelming life situation we were in just a few short years ago.
There is no cure for eczema, and the science of itch remains a mystery. However, the National Eczema Association is leading the effort to help improve the health and quality of life for individuals all all ages that suffer from eczema.
Please consider browsing the National Eczema Association’s website: www.nationaleczema.org for more information.
Our family continues to support NEA through donations and volunteer work. I feel strongly that my lottery entry into the New York City Marathon on November 4th necessitated a service project on my part, and the National Eczema Association is always first on my list to support.
Would you please consider helping me raise money toward my $2,620 goal?
Thank you so much for your support!
Natalie was born a happy and healthy baby, but that soon changed not long after she was brought home from the hospital. Within a few weeks of birth, Natalie became covered with a red, splotchy rash and was often a crying baby rather than a happy one. We did what all parents do: we did the best we could to soothe her, visited doctors, and learned about sensitive skin as we were told she probably had eczema.
However, over time her condition worsened. Natalie began scratching as soon as her developing motor coordination allowed her to do so. She wasn’t sleeping at night, and spent much of her 24 hours a day crying in what we were convinced was pain. It was very difficult to soothe her, and we were at a loss. By 9 months, we were getting very desperate. The pediatrician began sending us to specialists. The common reaction was, “wow, I’ve never seen a baby look like this before.” Those aren’t comforting words, especially when you are hearing it repeated by different doctors that are considered to be the best in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Natalie didn’t gain any weight between the age of 9-15 months, and a gastroenterologist told us he suspected she had food allergies. We began the long and difficult process of trying to determine what she was allergic to. Too young for skin allergy testing, extensive and repeated blood testing showed she was allergic to just about everything tested, food and environmental. Two separate doctors then said these results were inconclusive because her body’s allergic reactivity was the highest they’d ever seen.
At this point, she was covered over most of her body with eczema. She spent much of her day and night with socks on her hands to prevent scratching. She frequently scratched until she bled and then continued to scratch the bloody areas. There were bloody stains on our walls where she would use the wall texture to scratch her itchy areas. Because itching is worse at night (for eczema or anything itchy), none of us were sleeping.
We were truly in a state of survival. While we tried to carry on with some normalcy for our sake and the sake of our older daughter, the truth is that we were barely functioning, neglecting ourselves, friends, and family in the process. We half-jokingly refer to this time in our lives as “the dark period,” because we truly don’t remember much of it. We were exhausted, living day to day.
Finally, by process of elimination and experimentation, we slowly figured out what some of her food allergies were as well as environmental triggers. We had to make some difficult decisions to improve Natalie’s health: gutting our house of carpet and saying goodbye to and placing our beloved cat and dog in other loving homes, among other changes. Slowly, she began to improve.
The first six years of Natalie’s life were the most difficult, with the first two being “the dark period.” We learned she had extensive food and environmental allergies, but also learned how she needed to live her life to be most comfortable.
Much of her improvement came when we found the right doctors, made environmental and lifestyle changes, and found the National Eczema Association. The organization was an integral part of helping educate us on the proper skin care, research, and information. Through NEA’s national patient conferences, we have had the opportunity to meet other families also dealing with eczema, some even with more severe eczema than Natalie’s. At those conferences’ kids camp, Natalie was able to meet and make friends with kids that were just like her.
Natalie has had remarkable improvement in her skin in the past three years. At age 6, she was able to begin immunotherapy through allergy shots, and since that time her skin has improved greatly. She still has eczema and extensive allergies, but with proper management we hope that her future remains eczema-limited. Through recent allergy testing we even learned that she is no longer showing an allergy to cats or dogs, proof that the allergy shots are working. We were thrilled the girls were able to get a young cat a few weeks ago. She has come such a long way from the sleepless and flared girl she was five years ago. We really have come full circle.
Eczema is a tricky disease, though, and often it returns at various stages of people’s lives. It’s part of the eczema mystery that research is trying to understand.
Please consider helping Natalie and others with eczema by making a donation today. Help me Run to Stop the Itch!