Mom’s incurable condition makes her allergic to sunlight: ‘I just never get rid of the itch’

Gemma Wright. (Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)
Gemma Wright. (Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

A mom revealed that she dreads the summer holidays – because she’s allergic to sunshine.

Gemma Wright from Derbyshire in the UK is allergic to the sun and ends up covered in itchy rashes.

“I call myself a modern-day vampire,” Gemma says.

“The blisters are so painful, they burn, and my skin gets so hot that you can feel the heat just by standing next to me.

“I’ve been in tears at the pharmacy and rocking like a crazy person while visiting the doctor. People don’t want to come near me because it looks like something you can catch.

“People don’t want to take money out of my hands and they stare and point.

“As the years have gone by my skin has become unbelievably itchy, like something is crawling under my skin all the time.”

Gemma Wright
Gemma Wright. (Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

The 41-year-old lunch supervisor, who takes medication three times a day, went on to say that she can’t go outside with her sons Kharter (7) Rhyley (10) and stepson George (7), without erupting in painful blisters.

“I absolutely hate going outside even though I love the outdoors. I feel dread when I know the weather is going to be nice.

“I love the sun but if I’m in it there’ll be consequences afterwards. It makes it difficult with my sons.

“The sad thing is my sons think I’m sick all the time and I hate that.

“They have to spend time with their dad because I have a lot of health issues. I’m rarely well and don’t know what it’s like to feel normal or pain-free.”

Gemma Wright that she can’t go outside with her so
Gemma Wright says that she can’t go outside with her sons Kharter (7) Rhyley (10) and stepson George (7). (Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

Gemma revealed that the condition makes life with fiancée, Laura Jennings (40), difficult.

“My partner is outgoing so she spends time with them but a lot of the time I’m just watching from afar.

“She’s a gardener so she loves being outside. She’s always camping and at the park. She doesn’t like being inside.

“It feels as if I’m in permanent lockdown. People are saying they can’t do this and that but I can’t do most things anyway.

“I’ve gone outside at times even though I was worried and just paid the price for it afterwards,” she said.

Genna was diagnosed with the incurable polymorphic light eruption condition at age 28, after returning from her first holiday in Tenerife, Spain.

Just a week into her trip, Gemma’s skin erupted into painful blisters and she was rushed to hospital.

“For the first week of the holiday I was fine and loving the sun. I got a really nice tan.

“Then the second week I ended up in hospital because my feet and legs were so fat that I couldn’t walk, and I had to use a wheelchair.

“I’ve been suffering for so long. I’ve got an amazing skin specialist and without her I’d be even more of a mess.”

Gemma Wright with her three kids
Gemma Wright with her three kids. (Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

The mom went on to explain that she takes medication three times a day to keep the blisters at bay.

“Just 20 minutes outside and I get a stabbing pain that I can’t bear.

“I just never get rid of the itch and it really gets me down because I can’t sleep. It’s from head to toe and everywhere in between.

“My skin specialist said it’s no quality of life and it really hasn’t been. Now the blisters have started leaving scars.

“My body will be used for medical science one day. I started taking the medication six months ago and they’ve been a miracle for me even though I still get blisters. It’s nothing in comparison to what they used to be. So after years of agony I finally have something that makes my life better than it was before – even though it’s not 100%.

Gemma says she’s speaking out to raise awareness of the condition.

“I know someone who has been bullied at school because she found out she had a sun allergy. So I chatted to her about how it makes us cool and unique and it really helped her,” Gemma says.

“I want to raise awareness of the condition and give support to people out there who have to suffer every day like I do.”

What is polymorphic light eruption?

It’s a rash, which appears as red, tiny bumps or slightly raised patches of skin, caused by exposure to the sun in people who’ve developed sensitivity to sunlight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The incurable condition is most likely to occur in spring and early summer.

The scarring usually goes away after 10 days, but people with severe rashes may have to consult a specialist to manage the condition.

Sources: Magazine Features

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