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Award-winning writer and community advocate, Alisha Bridges, shares her psoriasis journey and the importance of World Psoriasis Day

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    Today is World Psoriasis Day, an important time to not only rally Alisha_Bridges_QA.PNGawareness about psoriasis among those living with it, but also to inform and educate others to better understand and help ease the burden of stigma that still surrounds this disease. Sharing her personal psoriasis journey with UCB and the global psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis community is patient advocate, Alisha Bridges.

    As an award-winning writer and community advocate, Alisha has inspired so many to open up about their shared and unique experiences living with a chronic inflammatory disease like psoriasis.

    At UCB, we’re honored to work closely with patients like Alisha, and the global community to understand the underlying nature of the disease as well as the complex ways they affect quality of life.

    1. How long have you been living with psoriasis and how has it affected your life?
      I've lived with severe plaque psoriasis for over two decades now. Psoriasis has affected every part of my life since childhood, from work to social, to dating and my overall quality of life. I've dealt with psoriasis in every capacity: mentally, emotionally and physically. Living with a visible condition, I've had to deal with a lot of misconceptions and stigma surrounding my psoriasis.

    2. You mentioned that there are a lot of misconceptions and stigma related to psoriasis. How do we address such misperceptions and the negative impact they have?
      When it comes to ending misconceptions and stigma, I think one of the most important factors is education. People can be very rude and unwilling to understand what psoriasis is, especially if they're not affected by it. That's why World Psoriasis Day is such an important day for those of us living with this disease, because not only are you teaching others living with psoriasis that they are not alone in this fight, but also teaching those who don't have psoriasis about what this condition is and its impact on daily life. I think awareness days like World Psoriasis Day are imperative to educating and dismantling some of the stigma and misconceptions that are alive and well among those who aren't familiar with psoriasis.

    3. Tell us about your work as a patient advocate and the impact it has had on you.
      When I became a psoriasis advocate, my life changed in so many ways. It was very unexpected as not only did I start advocating for myself and begin telling my story, I started connecting with other people living with psoriasis. I started learning how psoriasis can affect everyone differently, helped others to tell their personal stories, and even told some stories on their behalf. My goal as a psoriasis advocate is to speak for the voiceless. There are so many people living in fear and isolation with this disease who don't want to talk about it, who don't want people to know that they're dealing with it. I hope by sharing my story and being a psoriasis advocate, I will not only encourage those who are afraid to speak out, but also provide and teach compassion and empathy among those who aren't familiar with a visible condition like psoriasis.

    4.  What is your message to other psoriasis patients this World Psoriasis Day and beyond?
      Do not let your psoriasis dictate your life and do not be afraid to speak out about your condition. Advocate for yourself, get to know others in the community and share your story. I always tell patients to expect more from their doctors and that when they're working with their doctors, it's not a dictatorship. It's a relationship, and you have to work with one another in order to find the best plan for you.

    5. What would ‘being free from psoriasis’ mean to you?
      Being free from psoriasis would mean peace on my emotional and mental health. I wouldn't have to stress and worry as much as I do now living with this condition. When you're living with a visible condition, so much of your self-esteem is affected by it because of the beauty standards that we live by. Our society tells us that we have to be flawless and that we have to have perfect skin. When you don't fit into that mold, it can weigh very heavy on you. You can also feel less than, as if you're not good enough compared to other people who are psoriasis-free. It would definitely have a positive impact on my life if I could wake up one morning and be 100% psoriasis-free.

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