Eczema Awareness Week Insight
With Eczema Awareness week coming up between 14 – 20 May 2018, we wanted to spotlight the Eczema Association Australasia (EAA). EAA is a wonderful community support group helping people and their families with the condition. We interviewed Cheryl Talent, EAA’s president, to learn about more about the organisation and the work they do.
Tell us a little about the history and background of the Eczema Association Australasia. How has your mission developed over the years?
The Eczema Association Australasia (EAA) started in January 1994, and is the only organisation of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It started as a local group for people to connect with the eczema. Unfortunately, there was a lack of information about the skin condition available from health professionals.
Since then, EAA has grown as a national organisation that anyone can rely on for skin concerns and independent advice. The EAA also educates the wider community on it’s effects and affects, and advocates for improvements to the quality of care sufferers receive.
What’s your personal connection to Eczema? And your contribution with EAA?
My experience as an eczema sufferer has allowed me to empathise with EAA members on a personal level. I am passionate about listening to other sufferers and providing them with support and education to try to help them or their loved ones in every way I can. After volunteering as an office assistant for almost 12 years, my commitment to EAA saw me step up to become President in 2007. Learning about finding my triggers and managing my own condition effectively has made me very passionate about trying to help other sufferers.
How many members/people does your organisation support?
The Eczema Association Australasia supports all eczema sufferers nationwide. We also offer individual membership where members can request a range of services. We also have corporate members who support us and on whom we rely for up-to-date information on products to help in its management.
What kind of services do you offer to your members?
We provide our members with valuable knowledge and first-hand experience on how to manage and treat eczema with advice and support across a wide range of issues, from diet and irritants to clothing and managing stress. Our members also have access to our magazine ‘Eczema Quarterly’ – the only condition- dedicated magazine in Australia.
Members can also request samples of specially designed products and have access to our range of information sheets on specific areas. Becoming a member of the EAA allows sufferers to feel that they are not alone in trying to manage their skin condition and know that they have a friendly and impartial ear to listen to their concerns at any time.
What are some of the most common concerns or questions that come to you/EAA?
The most common question we are asked is whether or not sufferers should be using topical steroid creams or not. We also receive many queries around which types of cleansing and moisturising products to use. A lot of our time is also spent talking to sufferers about how to use their treatments/products correctly. They often get confused with the information they receive from various other sources including their health professionals.
What do you think the biggest concern is for eczema sufferers currently?
Eczema sufferers have expressed that they feel as though nobody cares about their illness. They are still dismissed from suffering from a serious medical condition! Most sufferers would like to see more research done that would one day lead to a cure.
What would you like to see happen in future?
My future goal for the EAA is to provide more services to our members and the public. To dispel and educate some of the myths surrounding the skin condition. Also to be able to grant Research funds to hopefully find a cure!
Visit Eczema Association Australasia’s website now for more!
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