Scleroderma in focus at charity auction

A prize bullock has been auctioned off at the Central West Livestock Exchange, raising $1,800 for medical research into Scleroderma.

The bull, which weighed some 970kg, was donated by Gooloogong local Bruce Temple in honour of his wife Beverley who suffered from Scleroderma and died in 2017, aged 74.

Scleroderma Association New South Wales President, Marilyn Singer, OAM, said the Association is very thankful to Bruce Temple for his generosity and it was a great tribute to his late wife.

Mrs Singer said they would also like to thank the agents, Kevin Miller Whitty Lennon, for waiving the commission fee. 

Scleroderma, she explained in a letter to the Advocate, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. 

Hardening of the skin is considered the hallmark of the disease.

This hardening is caused by the overproduction of collagen which is laid down in the skin and internal organs resulting in scarring and reduced function of the affected organs. 

In many cases Scleroderma can affect the vital organs, heart, lungs, kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract, impacting on people's quality of life.

In some cases, Scleroderma can cause death.

The cause of Scleroderma is still unknown, however research into the possible cause actively continues by medical and scientific communities all over the world. There is currently no cure.

Treatment consists of management of the symptoms with the view to slowing disease progression and improvement in the quality of life for the patient.

Awareness is very important, as many people go untreated for years due to the lack of knowledge and difficulty with diagnosis. 

Bruce Temple said he hopes the money raised from the charity auction will help the Scleroderma Association and people that live with the disease.

Mrs Singer said that being able to keep funding research is of the utmost importance, as this is the way to understanding and treating the debilitating and often life-threatening disease.

"The importance of raising awareness about Scleroderma cannot be overstated. It is only through awareness and research that we will have a chance of making the lives of Scleroderma sufferers, not only better, but give them hope for the future," Mrs Singer said.

If you, or anyone you know may suspect you have Scleroderma, contact your local GP.

For information on Scleroderma Association of NSW membership, support groups, educational information and newsletters head to their website at www.sclerodermansw.org