Twelve-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres was used to her body being on display in a bathing suit, but about two decades ago, she discovered some itchy patches on her skin. Originally embarrassed by this visible condition, she went to a doctor and was diagnosed with psoriasis, a condition that affects 7.5 million people in the U.S.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells and causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is a chronic disease that is sporadic in its presence. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but treatment options are always evolving.
While this disease can be painful, the emotional toll can be devastating. A recent study from Psoriasis.org reported nearly nine out of 10 people living with psoriasis experienced self-consciousness or embarrassment about their condition.
Torres, who has represented the U.S. in five Olympic Games was a world record holder in three events, and when she was 41, she earned a place on the U.S. team, thus becoming the oldest woman to achieve that feat. She appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1994. She is the author of two best-selling books, Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage of Your Life with Elizabeth Weil and Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program with Billie Fitzpatrick. She also works on television as a reporter and announcer. She keeps a very active and healthy lifestyle and is the proud parent of a daughter.
While nothing was going to keep her out of the pool, Torres, who has had plaque psoriasis for nearly 20 years, understood that others suffer from embarrassment and prejudice due to this condition, and she wanted to help.
Otezla, one of the leading treatments for psoriasis from Celgene, created the Show More of You Campaign, where people with the various forms of psoriasis had powerful portraits taken by famed photographer Martin Schoeller. This program proved effective, and they just launched their second year with this campaign.
Schoeller is most well-known for celebrity portraits of people like Barack Obama, Katy Perry, Prince, and Brad Pitt, as well as unknown people, and has achieved worldwide acclaim for his unique lens on the world as showcased on CNN.
This collection includes many people who are encouraged to band together and share their stories on Showmoreofyou.com
Dara Torres was joined by Dr. Shane Chapman, section chief of dermatology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, for a recent interview with the Inquisitr, where she talked about her life, her battle with psoriasis, what she is up to now, and how educating people on psoriasis is important, not only to helping spearhead a cure, but also for building tolerance to people who suffer from this non-contagious condition.
See the complete interview below
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]