A five-year-old who suffers such severe eczema he can barely walk has told his mother he wants to die rather than suffer any more pain.
Dana Bishop, 36, says her son Morgan has battled the skin condition since he was four months old.
His family are now at breaking point, having tried almost every treatment available on the NHS – including a form of chemotherapy.
The skin on his feet and legs has become so sore he cannot walk, meaning he has to use a mobility scooter to move around during a flare-up.
And as the eczema stops him from sleeping, he can only attend school for half days at a time and is rarely able to play with his friends.
Dana Bishop, 36, says her five-year-old son Morgan suffers such severe eczema he can barely walk and is in such pain he has begged to die
The soles of Morgan’s feet become so sore he cannot walk, and must use a mobility scooter to get around. He is pictured in hospital receiving treatment
Mrs Bishop says the family has tried every treatment the NHS has to offer to treat his eczema – including a form of chemotherapy, but nothing has worked
‘We’ve lost part of Morgan’s personality to the eczema,’ said Mrs Bishop, of Tadworth, Surrey, who has had to give up work as a family support worker to care for her son.
‘We haven’t got lives. Winter is hell for his skin because of the central heating and cold weather, but we rarely go outside in the summer either as heat and pollen aggravate the eczema too.
‘There’s no respite for us. On his fifth birthday, Morgan told me he’d rather die than cope with the pain of eczema anymore – it was heartbreaking to hear.’
Morgan is often exhausted after being in too much pain to sleep at night and so attends school in the morning and naps in the afternoon.
During school hours, he gets too distracted by his itchy skin to even hold a pencil.
The skin on the soles of his feet and backs of his knees is so cracked and sore that he can barely walk
‘He’ll come home from school and tell me that he tried to play with his friends, but had to sit out after just a few steps,’ Mrs Bishop said.
‘When it gets really bad, it almost looks like an acid burn.
‘His one-year-old brother Jenson is very understanding. He’ll see Morgan scratching and try to help by rubbing his cream in for him.
Mrs Bishop has had to give up work to care for her son. She is pictured with her husband Paul, and their sons Morgan and Jenson
Over the past eight months, they say they have experienced just four ‘good days’ where Morgan’s skin does not flare up. Morgan is pictured receiving treatment in hospital
Morgan is only able to attend half days at school as his eczema leaves him so itchy and distracted he can barely hold a pencil
‘My husband and I have to take it in turns to take Jenson out as it’s not fair on him to be inside all the time, but we feel guilty not being able to include Morgan.’
Mrs Bishop and her husband Paul, 43, say they are ‘constantly’ applying cream to Morgan throughout the day – far more than the four to six times recommended.
The couple also swaddle him in a wet wrap every night.
Over the past eight months, they say they have experienced just four ‘good days’ where Morgan’s skin does not flare up.
‘It’s an emotional rollercoaster, we’ll have snippets where he’s comfortable and we can see glimmers of his happy, chatty personality, then the itching starts again and he becomes irritable and irrational,’ Mrs Bishop said.
As well eczema, schoolboy has asthma and life-threatening nephotic syndrome, which sees large amounts of protein leak out of his kidneys.
Mrs Bishop believes the immune suppressing drugs her son must take to combat his kidney problems have, in turn worsened his eczema.
He also has more than 20 allergies including eggs, nuts, dairy, potatoes, soya and rice.
Doctors are doing a process of elimination to work out exactly what Morgan is allergic or intolerant to, but currently, there’s very little he can eat.
‘We’ve lost part of Morgan’s personality to the eczema,’ Mrs Bishop said, who says he has rare moments of being happy and chatty, as the condition leaves him irritable and miserable
They have suggested the family feed him via a tube directly into his stomach, and introduce one food at a time to see what he can tolerate.
However, Mrs Bishop believes this approach is likely to be difficult as Morgan won’t understand why he is being denied his favourite foods.
She said: ‘But he’s already experienced food so he’ll know what he’s missing. He’s too old to not realise what’s going on but too young to rationalise with and understand that it’ll be for his own good.
‘He’s very strong-willed, so I know he’ll just pull the tube out.’
Scouring the internet for help, Mr and Mrs Bishop recently discovered a hydrotherapy clinic called the Avene Centre in France.
The centre offer treatments in warm water and wraps which claim to treat eczema and psoriasis.
Boasting several success stories, Mrs Bishop believes it is their last chance to help Morgan.
She has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise the funds required for a three-week course of treatment, which will include the hydrotherapy with natural spring water and consultations with leading dermatologists.
Mr Bishop is also planning a 900 mile charity bike ride to help with costs.
The Bishop family say they are ‘constantly’ applying cream to Morgan’s skin and he must be swaddled in a wet wrap at night. Despite this, he is still unable to sleep and is often exhausted in the day, napping all afternoon
Mrs Bishop says her son Jenson is very kind to his big brother, rubbing in his cream whenever he is upset. The family are pictured in Disney World
‘People don’t recognise skin conditions as debilitating. They hear eczema and just think it’s a bit of dry skin, but the reality can be much, much worse,’ Mrs Bishop said
‘All Morgan wants is for the itching to stop,’ Mrs Bishop said.
‘He always asks me if I can make it stop in time for Christmas or his birthday.
‘Since discovering the Avene Centre, I’ve spoken to parents all over the world who’ve been in our shoes.
‘One man said his little girl was so ill she had to be physically carried everywhere, but halfway through her first session it was like a light switched on and she came back to life.
‘We’re praying the same happens to Morgan.’
Aside from fundraising, the family are focusing their attention on Morgan’s Mission, a Facebook page they have set up for their son to raise awareness of his condition.
Mrs Bishop said her ultimate aim is to register Morgan’s Mission as a charity.
‘People don’t recognise skin conditions as debilitating. They hear eczema and just think it’s a bit of dry skin, but the reality can be much, much worse,’ she said.
‘We want to help other families like us get the help and understanding they need.’
To donate visit http://www.gofundme.com/paulbishop
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition associated with dry patches of hot, itchy skin
WHAT IS IT?
Eczema, or allergic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition associated with dry patches of hot, itchy skin.
When severe, these areas can become broken, raw and may bleed. The itching can be incessant and intense.
It commonly affects the upper hands, elbows, back of the knees and face, devastating people’s confidence and making movement and sleep uncomfortable.
The condition tends to be triggered by a variety of irritants.
WHO GETS IT?
Eczema affects up to one-fifth of all children and one in 12 adults. It affects both males and females equally.
While there is no guarantee a child will grow out of eczema, research has shown that 60-70 per cent of children are virtually clear of the condition by the time they reach their mid-teens.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
It is closely linked with asthma and hayfever and is thought to be an allergic condition in which the immune system overreacts to harmless particles that come into contact with the skin, causing red, itchy patches of inflammation.
Triggers may include dust, pollen, detergents and foods, ranging from eggs and yeast to oranges.
The allergic reactions may develop and worsen over a period of time, as the immune system begins to react more intensely to the irritants.
Eczema is also linked to dry skin, and it has been suggested that a lack of oils and natural moisture factors in the sufferer’s skin may make them more vulnerable to skin inflammation and irritation.