Lynchburg, VA – A woman in our area with a rare disease is speaking out in an attempt to raise awareness. It is called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It causes lesions and in some cases nerve and muscle damage. It can also be an indication of breast, skin, and liver cancers. They say you can never truly judge a book by its cover and looking at Dale Rickwood, the same theory applies.
Though she may look healthy- she is not. She was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease at the age of 16. It causes single to multiple boil-like lesions that are blood or puss filled that cause debilitating pain, usually under the breasts, in the groin, or on the arm pit. “There’s days that I can’t get out of bed. There’s days that I need help with doing the simplest things: showering, cooking, cleaning,” Dale Rickwood said. Rickwood says the pain has robbed her of her life.
“The pain is comparable to a hot poker being stuck in you. It’s a searing pain, it’s not a throbbing pain,” Rickwood said.
She gets a flair up every two weeks and it lasts for five days. The worst part is there is no cure”There is no next step. Until there is an effective treatment or cure found I’m just forced to just live with it,” Rickwood said.She is not standing idle however. Rickwood is doing everything she can to get the word out. In fact, this Saturday purple ribbons will be tied outside homes to show support of the disease.Rickwood has also launched a Facebook page to get the word out.”I wanted people to know that we’re out here,” Rickwood said.
Rickwood has had stage three HS for 20 years now and it causes her to spend quite a bit of time in the hospital.Heat and stress are two big triggers. In fact, when lesions are active, in some cases, the pain can be so intense, that it’ is uncomfortable to even wear clothing.The disease affects people of all ages.Learn more about Rickwood’s Purple Ribbon Campaign, here.
Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks | Videographer: Brian Whitesell
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