Sup­port group formed for sclero­derma pa­tients


A Birken­head woman has set up a sup­port group for peo­ple liv­ing with sclero­derma in Auck­land.

Sclero­derma is a rare rheumatic, au­toim­mune dis­ease that hard­ens skin and con­nec­tive tis­sues, turn­ing or­gans ef­fec­tively to stone. It is in­cur­able.

Ann Wills dis­cov­ered she had the dis­ease 25 years ago, as a teacher in her early 20s.

She had been hav­ing pain in her hands, which she thought could be an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to chalk dust, when she was di­ag­nosed.

She had never heard of sclero­derma be­fore. While she has been lucky in her med­i­cal care, she be­lieved many other peo­ple with sclero­derma lacked the re­sources and sup­port they needed.

Wills knew of no cur­rent sup­port groups for sclero­derma north of Hamil­ton, but thought so­cial­is­ing with peo­ple who un­der­stood what it was like to live was the dis­ease was im­por­tant.

She de­cided to or­gan­ise a gather­ing of peo­ple with the dis­ease ev­ery two months. The first meet­ing was held at the end of Au­gust.

‘‘It’s more than a cof­fee group,’’ Wills said. ‘‘It’s friend­ship, sup­port, ed­u­ca­tion.’’


The Auck­land sclero­derma sup­port group met for the first time at the end of Au­gust.

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