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Walking for a cure and regaining confidence


Posted: April 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Kirby Ortego Courtesy Photo


I’m 15 years old and I have lived in Santa Clarita all my life. I also have psoriasis.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering “psoria-what?” Psoriasis is a non-contagious, autoimmune disorder that causes itchy, irritable rashes and sores that appear on the skin. If left untreated, the sores can cover up to 90 percent of your body surface making it difficult to live a normal life.

When I was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis in 2010, I felt like I was alone because no one around me understood what it felt like to have something so horrible stabbing your skin.

People didn’t know what was wrong with me and would rather stare or whisper than actually ask me and get a clear answer.

Most people were nice about it, but I could tell they pitied me.

I was so embarrassed that I refused to go out in public if my body wasn’t covered to hide my hideous skin, even if it was 90 degrees out.

In 2011, my family participated in our first National Psoriasis Foundation’s (NPF) Walk to Cure Psoriasis in Los Angeles.

I was shocked. But mostly I was relieved at how many of the participants either had psoriasis or supported someone with it. More importantly, I didn’t feel alone anymore - they were people like me who wanted a cure.

I was so inspired that day that I decided I wanted to get more involved. The next year, the NPF asked me to be the Walk to Cure Psoriasis Teen Ambassador and I gladly accepted.

Today, I am on a biologic (injected) drug and am 99 percent clear, which makes me very, very happy.

I’ve been working very closely with the NPF, and even had the opportunity last summer to attend a leadership conference in Chicago where I got to meet even more people my age with psoriasis.

My self-confidence is back and I joined the Show Choir at Hart High School where I get to sing and dance in front of the public wearing different costumes no matter how much of my skin is showing. I’m glad to be part of the Walk and work with the NPF so I can clear a path for clear skin for all psoriasis victims.

Please walk with me and the Team Kirbinators on April 26 at the Santa Monica Pier.

Click here for more information. I hope to see you there!


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