Eva: Allergic to the Sun

Eva loves school, dogs and chocolate, but she doesn’t love broccoli. Apart from the 14 hours per week she spends training in gymnastics, she’s like any other kid her age. Well, almost. Unlike the other kids, Eva can’t play outside without protection. Ever. She has to wear a powerful sunscreen at all times and get in the shade every two hours to keep painful lesions from covering her skin. Eva suffers from juvenile dermatomyositis, an inflammatory disease that causes, among other things, agonizing rashes, as well as muscle pain and weakness.

Eva November 2017: Eva is 8 years old. She loves gymnastic competitions and demonstrates her talent by qualifying for provincials. But all of a sudden, strange things start to happen. First, Eva develops a mysterious rash right under her eyes. Eczema, according to a pediatrician. But Gillian, Eva’s mom, doesn’t see any improvement after using the recommended creams. Then the ulcers. Eva’s mouth is full of them, and she can’t stand the burning sensation. After several appointments with specialists, Eva still isn’t getting any better, and Gillian is fed up! Why couldn’t anyone help ease her daughter’s suffering? One morning, Gillian looked at her daughter and couldn’t believe it. “You’re falling apart,” she cried at the sight of the wounds covering her little girl’s skin.

That’s when Eva was admitted to the Montreal Children’s Hospital emergency room. Thanks to our donors, this bustling department had the expertise needed to help her, and they quickly diagnosed Eva’s juvenile dermatomyositis. “You don’t think it could happen to you. How can my kid be a kid if she can hardly set foot outside?” worried Gillian. Luckily, the treatments recommended by the Children’s specialists worked. These cutting-edge treatments wouldn’t be available without your generous support of pediatric research.

On top of staying completely protected from the sun, Eva must receive weekly injections. “It’s the hardest part,” says her mother, who administers the shots.

Because of her disease, Eva had to quit gymnastics. It broke her heart, but she decided to pursue other dreams, like modern dance. At 10 years old, the young girl gets good grades in school and can’t wait to grow up so she can volunteer at the Children’s. “She already comforts the other kids who are afraid of needles when we visit the hospital,” says a smiling Gillian. “We’re so grateful to the doctors, nurses and specialists who take such good care of my daughter. We just want to be able to pass that on.”