Share your story: Standing up to eczema

ESC invited Kyle Bruner to share his story of living with severe atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly referred to as eczema. Kyle has been a volunteer with ESC since 2019, and you may have heard him speak at one of ESC’s Life with Eczema education sessions.

“My name is Kyle and I am from Sarnia, Ontario. I have had moderate to severe eczema on 80-90% of my body since I was a few months old. I have seen many doctors in Sarnia, London, Toronto and Chicago trying to find relief. I used to feel like I was the only person in the world with moderate to severe eczema and never felt like anyone would ever understand how difficult life could be.

Three years ago, I started high school and my eczema flared from the stress and the polyester uniform I had to wear. This led to kids calling me names, taking pictures of my rash, and bullying me. My teachers didn’t seem to understand what was happening and thought I could just get over it, because to them, it was just a rash. But I couldn’t – it is so much more then a rash.

My parents found the Eczema Society of Canada and we attended the Life with Eczema education event in Toronto. One of the speakers was a young man who spoke about his journey and how his life changed after starting a new biologic therapy. That same year, I was able to attend an eczema camp filled with Eczema Warriors like me and suddenly I felt a sense of relief because I had a whole family of people from around the world that knew exactly what I was going through.

Since then I have attended a second camp, started a new treatment plan, and attended advocacy meetings where I got to speak about the impact eczema has on the whole patient. I still deal with flares, infections, depression, and bullying but thanks to the help of the eczema community I am able to stand up for myself and others. I don’t feel like I have to hide my eczema anymore. I will advocate for awareness, safer treatments, and access to better treatment options so that others hopefully won’t have to go through what I have. They will know that someone else is out there that will listen.”

ESC sincerely thanks Kyle for sharing his experiences and for his involvement in advocating for Canadians impacted by eczema. Follow Kyle on Instagram at @scratchthat19.