Make Leprosy A Thing Of The Past

(This fundraising campaign is now closed)

In 15 years time, I’m going to write to tell you that leprosy has been eradicated.

But to do that, I need your support today.

Here at The Leprosy Mission Scotland, we’ve been on a long journey — in fact we’ve been going for 145 years. I know that you have been by our side for a chunk of that time and I want to thank you for all you have done.

Thirty five years ago we had a major breakthrough when we found an effective treatment for leprosy. Today an end to this terrible disease is finally in sight. We can and will end the transmission of leprosy by 2035.

But to get there we need to redouble our efforts. We need to move faster, reach more people, and go even further in our mission. That’s why I am asking you to come with me on this journey, as we launch a major campaign and make leprosy a thing of the past.

Will you donate £24 today and help get treatment to one more person with leprosy? Together we will eradicate leprosy one person at a time.

This is no pie in the sky goal. Thanks to you and your generous support to people living with leprosy, we can now build on years of research, expertise and experience. We have a clear plan of how we are going to make leprosy a thing of the past — now we need your help to implement it.

Spot it. Treat It. Stop It.

Many people in Scotland think leprosy is a thing of the past. It’s not for Nagammal.

When she was just 20 years old the first signs of leprosy started to appear, pale patches of skin on her face. By the time she was diagnosed with leprosy her hands and feet had already started to become deformed.

She used to cook for her elderly mother but she couldn’t feel the heat of the pot handles, the utensils or the oil that splashed. Burns became ulcers, ulcers became infected and the deformities got worse.

She had completed the drug treatment for leprosy but not in time to prevent permanent nerve damage and all the problems that follow. She was never shown how to protect her hands and feet or how to manage her ulcers and so the damage just got worse.

Her husband had married her in her early 20s, even though she already had leprosy. He stood by her as the deformities got worse. He was her rock when their baby son died and he became her carer as she became unable to walk, to cook, to wash herself or to feed herself.

In the end the strain was too much and under pressure from the whole extended family he left. He told her he was going to find better paid work and would come back but really he was just going.

The one person Nagammal had was gone. She was heartbroken.

“It’s an unbearable pain I have been experiencing emotionally these past few years. We married out of love against our culture and religion, yet he still left me. But I don’t blame him.”

Her family saw her as nothing but a burden and she ended up living alone, abandoned, in a goat shed. As she crawled around, living on the meagre amount they gave her she got ulcers on her knees and elbows which also became infected by her surroundings.

Imagine what it must be like to have your loved ones abandon you.
Leaving you struggling alone when you cannot cook or care for yourself.
Leaving you hidden away in inhumane conditions.
Neglected, your condition worsens. No clean water. No toilet and washing facilities. But nothing is as painful as the despair of feeling utterly alone.

Somehow Nagammal existed like this in her goat shed. Year after year.

But her life was about to change. Because of people like you she was found by The Leprosy Mission and she began the long road to recovery.

Tragedies like Nagammal’s can be avoided. Had she seen a doctor experienced in leprosy when her symptoms began, she would have been cured before ulcers and deformities could occur.

She would not have lost her hands and toes… and ultimately, her marriage and her freedom.

It costs £24 to get treatment to one more person like Nagammal with leprosy — and within just 2 days of receiving treatment that person is no longer infectious. You can help us reach the next person with that life-changing treatment.

Jesus healed people with leprosy, and he said that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these”. John 14:12

Will you finish what He started? Without you, we cannot make leprosy a thing of the past. But with you, we cannot fail. Please give £24 today.

God bless you

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23rd Aug 2019

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.