A WIGAN mum who has a rare and painful skin disease is hoping to make more people aware of the condition.
As part of Ichthyosis Awareness Month, throughout May, Melanie Bradley is handing out information cards and leaflets to spread the word.
Sometimes people are awkward when they see my skin, but I would rather people did come and ask me about itMelanie Bradley
The 36-year-old from Atherton and her four-year-old daughter Rebecca have the condition, which causes skin to crack, break, tear and peel off in large pieces, leaving the flesh below vulnerable to infection.
Melanie said: “I will be reaching out to the community, going to town centres and toddler groups, with awareness cards.
“It is important that people know about this, as it is often misunderstood, as people assume we have a more common condition, such as psoriasis, but ichthyosis is more complex.
“The difficulty is explaining it in more simple terms. Informing the public is paramount to encourage society to be more accepting. We have visible differences but it doesn’t mean we are not nice people.
“Rebecca starts at Chowbent Primary School in Atherton in September and it is important to educate youngsters there.
“We have leaflets, where Rebecca says: ‘I like princesses and drawing, like you, but I have to be careful that I don’t hurt myself when playing because my skin is sore.’
“Sometimes people are awkward when they see my skin, but I would rather people did come and ask me about it.
“I won’t be offended, as people need to know,
“I also want to reach out to people and families who have ichthyosis as they may feel they are on their own and we want to say there is support and people who can share their experiences.
“We can offer emotional support and information on treatment.
“So far, I know of only two families in the borough who have children with the condition.”
Melanie has also organised a family meet up at Leigh Sports Village on August 13, where people from across the North West can attend to share their experiences.
She added: “People come from further afield – it is a great opportunity to meet up.
“I have a website – Friends of Ichthyosis – and Facebook page www.facebook.com/FriendsOfIchthyosis – which people can access.”
And as an extra bid to raise awareness, Melanie filmed a documentary with Manchester College students last year, but it has not yet been showcased.