Chad Nelson – A purpose in life

He has a full dark beard that covers most of the 26-year-old’s face. A dark stocking cap covers his scalp.

But it’s unlikely you have seen Nelson in a crowd. It’s not because he is especially shy, even though he is a soft-spoken man.

Nelson has a disease that has forced him to spend most of his days at home in Tuscumbia. It’s also the reason he wears the knitted cap every day — even when tempertures soar to near triple digits in Alabama.

But Nelson said he is tired of hiding and is ready to move on and to tell others about his disease – hidradenitis suppurativa.

“It started at age 10,” he said. “I was always the kid who never went without a shirt. I had what everybody called heat rash. At least that’s what the doctors around here called it.”

Nelson said as he got older, the skin condition seemed to progress, starting under his arm. It was beyond heat rash, with sores that were painful to the touch.

For a while, however, the rash seemed to go away.

Then around 18 or 19, Nelson said he started getting what he thought were bald spots on his scalp.

“I started thinking, ‘OK, no big deal. I’m going bald,’ ” he said.

By Teri Thornton Stepleton Lifestyle
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