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Support group offers help for those affected by eczema





An Ellis woman has founded the first support group in Kansas for those who suffer from eczema.

Adrienne Gaschler, a support group leader for the National Eczema Association, said her two young children are affected by a severe case of the skin disease.

"Going through this for the past four years, I wanted a place I could go to for support, people to relate to and other parents," Gaschler said. "No such place existed in the area."

Gaschler said she found the NEA's website and recognized it as her avenue to spread her cause. Gaschler became a support group leader by applying and interviewing, she said.

"I really want to better the lives of those with eczema, offer resources and support to parents and patients who are struggling, educate the area and raise awareness," she said.

There are many people who do not recognize the symptoms of the disease, Gaschler said.

"A lot of people think they have poison ivy or ask what is that or why is their face so red," Gaschler said.

It is an incurable, noncontagious disease, and patients can have flare-ups of itchy rashes on any part of the body, she said. Thirty million Americans have eczema, and 10 million of them are school-age children, she said.

Gaschler said the unknown nature of the affliction can make patients feel alone and misunderstood.

"You feel isolated because eczema does affect a lot of people, but it's not something that everyone has seen," she said.

Gaschler said she hopes the group will meet quarterly and raise money for the NEA's research through garage sales, bake sales and raffles.

The first meeting will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Hays Public Library, 1205 Main, Gaschler said. Gaschler can be reached at adriennegaschler@hotmail.com and (785) 726-1344.

More information about the disease can be found at www.nationaleczema.org.