Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reaching out to persons with psoriasis

MANILA, Philippines - It all began with a small group of five persons with psoriasis who only wanted a venue to vent out their frustrations, share their dreams, and articulate their hopes.  Subsequently, an online support group for Filipinos with psoriasis was born – Psoriasis Philippines (PsorPhil).

There was this call from a stranger regarding his female friend who was so depressed she wanted to take her life because her family did not understand why she acquired lesions on her skin. They thought she was cursed. (However, scientific studies say that having psoriasis may be attributed to genetic predisposition.)  Out of fear that she might infect them, her family drove her away. That was Christmas time, six years ago.
It was the turning point of the advocacy of Psoriasis Philippines. Soon it was extending support to many psoriasis sufferers who were on the verge of committing suicide.  Notably, there were more women sufferers who were suicide-prone. Psoriasis Philippines continues to be instrumental in averting suicides among Filipinos living with psoriasis.

Psoriasis Philippines’ advocacy has tackled several issues that are mostly discriminatory, says Josef de Guzman, executive director of PsorPhil and the first Asian to be elected to the executive board of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, the global network of national psoriasis organizations.
 Take the case of Ana (not her real name), 15 years old. Ana had to quit school because of psoriasis.  She got tired of being humiliated because her skin was rough.

Jenny (not her real name) is a young single mother who needed to work extra hard after her husband left her. He told her he could no longer bear to touch her.
A pastor who had lesions on her face was not allowed to board a plane. PsorPhil came to her rescue and brought her case to court.

The list can go on and on, what with some two million Filipinos suffering from psoriasis.

Having psoriasis is tough. It robs sufferers of the very essence of their existence. And overcoming the discrimination that they face on a daily basis is no mean feat.
PsorPhil’s advocacy has reached the remotest areas to educate people at the grass roots level about this condition. It is hoped that one day, all psoriasis sufferers can live normally without the stigma attached to the condition.

 To raise funds for its projects, PsorPhil is holding a concert on August 20 at the Baypark area, service road of Roxas Boulevard (near Raha Sulayman plaza) billed as PsorRocks.  Several popular bands are playing for free: CallaLily, Slapshock, 6 Cycle Mind, Cueshe, Even, General Luna, Grace Note, Kenyo, Up Darma Down, among others. Party music will be played by DJ Buddah after the concert. 

For more details, call the PsorPhil office at 889-3596, 379-4290, 09228297767.


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