Funding appeal raises over $26k for eczema sufferer
ECZEMA sufferer Eu Huiling has seen her condition deteriorate to the point that it almost killed her. It worsened when she started work as a civil engineer after graduating from the National University of Singapore 10 years ago.
Although it has stabilised, it is still so bad that the 34-year-old is unemployed because of it.
At its worst, the atopic eczema - which was previously localised to areas like her hands, face and neck - spread to the rest of her body, from her scalp to the soles of her feet.
The flare-ups became so frequent she would have to be hospitalised several times a year.
In 2010, she almost died during treatment as the condition had become so severe.
Cracks and sores appear, which she says give off a stench.
"Any attempt to move would send stabbing pain throughout my skin," said Ms Eu, who also had difficulties falling asleep due to the pain. "My skin would fuse to the bedsheet if I'm in contact with it for over 15 minutes. When that happens, I have to slowly peel the bedsheet off my skin and that tears open the skin again."
Simple tasks like putting on clothes took a long time as she had to ease herself into them, to avoid brushing the fabric against open wounds on her body.
Her condition has since improved slightly but Ms Eu has spent all her savings - which added up to more than $50,000 - on treatment.
On Sunday, a page on crowdfunding website GoFundMe was started by her friends - former colleague Jackie Goh, 35, and secondary schoolmate Karen Hong, 34 - to raise US$6,000 (S$8,100) for her treatment and, hopefully, help her to lead as normal a life as possible.
As of yesterday, it had raised more than US$19,400. Most of her 200-plus donors are former colleagues and schoolmates.
Ms Eu is undergoing regular ayurvedic treatment, a traditional system of medicine which uses a range of remedies such as herbal medicine and yoga, at Union Yoga Ayurveda. The clinic is a 10-minute walk from her five-room Kembangan flat, where she lives with her parents and sister.
Ms Eu has tried more than 20 treatments, from traditional Chinese medicine to homeopathy.
The current treatment, she says, has helped to stabilise her condition, and she has since stayed out of hospital for the past two years.
Ms Eu hopes to make a trip to Kerala, India, this October for more intensive ayurvedic treatment, after meeting a woman who underwent a similar ordeal but is now almost completely free of the condition after being treated there. The intensive treatment costs $1,000 a week.
Doctors here say there is no cure for eczema but treatment - such as the use of steroids - can help to manage and ease the symptoms.
Ms Eu, who would like to be well enough to find a job again, said: "I am thankful that there are people who have not given up on me. It has made me more determined to work towards getting better."