Scleroderma refers to a whole group of diseases, all rare, that cause the skin and connective tissues in the body to harden. This is a result of excess collagen in the tissue. Depending on the type, scleroderma can affect the skin, blood vessels, digestive tract, or internal organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and heart. The two major classes of the disease are localized scleroderma, which is generally mild, or systemic scleroderma which can affect many parts of the body at once.
Symptoms include thickening of patches of skin, Raynaud’s disease, and even acid reflux.
Researchers still aren’t sure exactly what causes scleroderma and there is no cure. However, patients symptoms may be treated with various medications in order to help them live a more normal life.
Wyatt The Warrior Foundation
The Wyatt The Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit that was created by a 12-year-old boy named Wyatt Wright and his family after Wyatt was diagnosed with scleroderma four years ago. Having a rare disease can be a very lonely experience, but instead of living in isolation, Wyatt was determined to connect with and help others facing similar struggles as his own.
The family’s motto is to always try to turn a negative into a positive. For Wyatt, who faces chemo weekly and takes 15 pills every single day, this is no easy feat. But his family is determined to not let this condition rule their life and they love being able to provide little bits of joy to those who are going through the same thing.
Through their foundation, Wyatt and his family have been delivering thousands of gifts to patients admitted to Wesley Children’s Hospital. Some of these Wyatt is able to hand over himself, and he absolutely loves it. He knows exactly what those patients are feeling, as he’s spent a significant amount of time in hospitals himself.
They provide slippers and warm socks to the patients. They call their gifts,”footwear with personality.”
They’ve made two deliveries so far. The first time, they collected and donated 3,000 pairs of socks. The second time, they had around 4,000 pairs.
It’s a small way to bring some joy to those dealing with an illness like Wyatt’s own, scleroderma.
In addition to their footwear donations, the Wyatt The Warrior Foundation also provides a variety of scholarships to families with scleroderma or other autoimmune diseases. These scholarships may go toward medical expenses, travel necessary for treatment, or as a way to help families attend conferences.
The 2019 National Patient Education Conference put on by the Scleroderma Foundation which will be held in Chicago, Illinois July 19th through 21st is coming up quickly and the foundation is doing all they can to support families who want to go.
Just recently, the foundation received a gift of 1,200 dollars from Eyewitness News and DeVaugh James Injury Lawyers, which they say will help them get another child and their family to Chicago. The organization is extremely grateful for this donation, and all those who help them help others living with scleroderma and other autoimmune conditions.
You can read more about scleroderma and the Wyatt The Warrior Foundation here.