Canadians set to wear yellow to support psoriasis community

    Psoriasis Support Canada Promotes Shed your Threads Campaign

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - On June 21st, 2009 - the first day of summer -
Psoriasis Support Canada invites Canadians to Shed their Threads. The
organization asks Canadians to wear a yellow t-shirt to support the more than
one million Canadians suffering from psoriasis - a life-altering skin disease.
    Ontario resident Ryan McMenamie knows the pain psoriasis can cause both
physically and emotionally. Ryan, who has suffered from psoriasis for 33
years, was asked to "cover his rash" while he worked out at his local gym last
year. When challenged, the owner simply said he didn't have the time to answer
all the questions other members would be asking about his condition - namely,
was it contagious - and didn't understand why Ryan couldn't "just wear a
long-sleeved shirt" to cover up his psoriasis.
    "Admittedly, the day after, I was fully covered in long sleeves and
pants," said McMenamie. "I had always had the attitude of 'this is me, take it
or leave it' but the ignorance and lack of empathy from the gym shook me, and
has certainly shed some light on the way some individuals will always view
things from a cosmetic perspective."
    Like McMenamie, many psoriasis sufferers cover-up their skin because they
feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Due to the visual nature of the condition
(it is typically characterized by patches of red and scaly skin), psoriasis
can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. Results of the
Quality of Life Assessment of Canadians with Psoriasis, conducted by Psoriasis
Support Canada, revealed that 70 per cent of respondents felt embarrassed as a
direct result of their condition, with 58 per cent regularly choosing to wear
long sleeves and pants to cover their skin condition - even in the summer
    It is for this reason that Psoriasis Support Canada - a national support
program for people with psoriasis - launched Shed Your Threads. The Shed Your
Threads campaign was designed to encourage sufferers to take action and make
strides throughout the year in order to improve their psoriasis and feel
comfortable wearing clothes that show their skin in summer. Hundreds of
Canadians have posted motivating messages at since the
campaign began last October. One testimonial says, "Stand proud. Your
psoriasis doesn't change who you are; educate those who are in need to be
educated, and ignore those who are ignorant. I've had my share of looks and
questions in the past 10 years; I've also been blessed to have a support
network to give me the strength to wear sleeveless tops, shorts and skirts.
Don't let psoriasis control your life."
    The campaign comes to a close on June 21, 2009. On that day, Psoriasis
Support Canada will ask Canadians to join Ryan, and the one million other
psoriasis sufferers across the country, their families and friends, to wear a
yellow t-shirt in support of psoriasis sufferers everywhere.
    "It pains us to know that so many people with psoriasis feel they have to
cover up their skin because of what other people think. It's a shame,"
declared Christine Jackson, Director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance,
based in Ottawa. "We will absolutely be wearing yellow to raise awareness and
to show support on behalf of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance."

    About Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is a chronic (ongoing and recurring) life-altering condition
characterized by patches of red and usually scaly skin. Affecting about one
million Canadians, psoriasis can range in severity and affect any part of the
body. Psoriasis usually occurs on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back and
genitals, often in the same place on both sides of the body. It can also
appear in the fingernails or toenails. Psoriasis usually begins in early
adulthood but may develop at any age. It can heal temporarily but come back
throughout a person's life. People with psoriasis may suffer discomfort,
including pain, itching and emotional distress. Recent research has shown that
psoriasis patients often have serious co-morbidities, such as cardiovascular
disease or obesity. Psoriasis is not a contagious skin condition - it cannot
be spread from one person to another or from one part of the body to another.

    About Psoriasis Support Canada

    Psoriasis Support Canada is a national, non-commercial and fully
bilingual community of psoriasis sufferers, their families, friends and
employers. Psoriasis Support Canada connects people with psoriasis and those
who have an interest in this disease to health and lifestyle resources, health
care professionals and services. The program provides practical tips and
information to help them better understand, manage and treat their condition.

    About the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance

    Founded in 2007, the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA) provides
education, information, an online supportive community, and opportunities to
create and join local support groups for all Canadian skin patients. CSPA is a
patient-centered organization serving patient needs to enhance care, to
promote skin health and to find cures for Canadian skin patients. CSPA also
provides physicians and researchers access to patients and their concerns
regarding skin disease. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Erin Bodley, Communications MECA, (416)
425-9143 or 1-866-337-3362 ext. 230,

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