A Leytonstone ‘Fixer’ who felt shunned at school because of his severe eczema is publishing a book to help young people understand the condition. A report about his campaign will feature on ITV News London on Friday 8 March 2013 from 6pm.
Aadam Elahi, 16, felt lonely and unable to interact with other children because of his red, scarred and bleeding skin.
His condition, which he developed on holiday in America as a baby, became so severe he needed treatment at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Now, with support from Fixers – the national movement of young people fixing the future – Aadam is working on a children’s book called ‘Itchy Witchy’ featuring a central character with eczema.
He hopes the book will raise awareness of eczema, prevent the sort of bullying he experienced as a child and offer support to people affected by the condition.
“Eczema can be a tough condition to live with, and young people need help with that, not ridicule,’ he says. “I felt very alone and abnormal. I want to make children and young people aware that they are not alone.”
Aadam was inspired to write ‘Itchy Witchy’ during a trip to Egypt where mummified museum exhibits reminded him of the bandages he wore as a child to prevent him scratching his skin.
He was frequently admitted to hospital because of his condition and developed Atopic Conjunctivitis as a result of it. This allergic reaction caused ulcers to form on his eyes and required more than ten operations.
He recalls children would refuse to hold his cracked, blistered hands, and he remembers trying to scratch his sister as he was jealous of her smooth skin.
“Because my skin was red, scarred and bleeding, people didn’t look at me like a normal human being,” he says. “People said I had old man’s hands because my hands used to be really wrinkly.
“I felt there was nothing out there for people affected by eczema to have a look at, and I’m aiming this book at children because I felt most affected by the condition when I was a child.
“Making a difference and helping others would make me proud.”
This article is reproduced from a news release issued by Matt Kurton, and the photo supplied by Fixers, www.fixers.org.uk
Fixers is a movement of thousands of 16 to 25-year-olds across the UK who are supported to take action and change things for the better, addressing any issue they feel strongly about.
How each Fixer tackles an issue is up to them – as long as they benefit someone else.
The award-winning Fixers project has already supported almost 7,000 young people across the UK to have an authentic voice in their community.