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How Expert Foot Care Saved my Life - DEBRA Funds First Podiatry Course

How Expert Foot Care Saved my Life - DEBRA Funds First Podiatry Course

23 year-old Jess loves to dance but has EB, which particularly affects her hands and feet, causing her excruciating pain. She tells us how specialist foot care and support from DEBRA has enabled her to achieve her dream career.

“I’ve always suffered with feet that blistered really easily – the skin would tear and it was incredibly painful. At school it was really hard to make teachers understand just how much it hurt. I was in my second year at University studying dance when the problems intensified. I was in extreme pain. My feet would be bloody and my blisters would be infected.

There were times when I pushed myself beyond endurance to keep up with the pace of the course. I even hobbled around on crutches. I sought a diagnosis and was referred by my local hospital to the specialist EB team at Solihull Hospital (a Centre of Excellence in EB supported by DEBRA). The EB team has helped me understand my condition and control it.

I’m no longer struggling on my own. I used to cut my blisters with nail clippers but now have the knowledge and access to proper dressings and sterile needles. I can care for my feet properly and get far fewer infections now. The team are constantly trying new things to help, giving me new shoes and insoles to test and telling me about new research they’re trialling and new ways of reducing pain.

Since getting help from the EB team, I’ve completed my degree in dance (my dissertation even specialised in EB). I’m now able to travel the world and pursue a career as a youth activities councillor at the kids club on a Disney Cruise Liner; I started on their Caribbean liner and have recently been transferred to their Alaska and Canada ship.

Some days are still extremely hard and I really have to push myself through the pain my EB causes. However, thanks to the support I have received from the EB team, I now know how to care for my feet and keep the blistering to a minimum, dramatically reducing the pain I’m in”.

DEBRA recognises the importance of specialised EB Podiatry services and the positive impact it can have on the quality of life of EB patients like Jess. DEBRA has invested £105K to launch the first ever EB Podiatry skills training course in the UK.  The training course will help to improve podiatry services across the UK and will have a positive impact on the quality of the lives of patients suffering from EB. DEBRA partnered with Dr Tariq Khan and provided the funds to develop and lead the training course. Dr Khan has worked for over 21 years as a Consultant Podiatrist and Specialist EB Podiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Claire Mather Director of Healthcare at DEBRA said: “We are committed to providing the funding needed to bring about change to the lives of the EB community.  We are delighted that the support we provided has helped Jess achieve her dream career. We’ve donated £105k to the EB podiatry project, to fund the first ever EB Podiatry training course, and to provide bursary’s for professionals attending the course.  The course has been developed by Dr Tariq Khan a Consultant Podiatrist and Specialist EB Podiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. We are proud to have been able to fund Dr Khan’s work in this way. We do not receive government funding, we rely on voluntary donations to fund our work.  We would like to thank all our supporters and donors who have helped us raised the funds to do this valuable work and provide life changing specialist care across the UK to the EB community.”

Dr Tariq Khan, Consultant Podiatrist and Specialists EB Podiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital who lead and developed the EB Podiatry course said:

“It’s great to hear how the specialists EB Podiatrists have help Jess to achieve her dream job.  I would like as many professionals as possible to attend the EB podiatry training course and help to make a positive impact on the quality of life of EB patients like Jess. I was excited to receive the funding from DEBRA, and develop the first ever EB Podiatry training course alongside Mark O’Sullivan, EB Team Podiatrist from Solihull and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.  The new EB podiatry training course will allow more healthcare professionals to gain the specialist skills needed to make a difference to the EB community.”

The training course takes place on Tuesday 21 January 2020 at the Plaza Hotel in London and is aimed at podiatrists and clinical professionals. DEBRA is also funding bursaries for professionals to attend the training course. 

To book attendance on the course and to apply for the DEBRA bursary click here.

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