We are a General Dermatology Helpline providing information and support for anyone suffering from skin disease or skin cancer.
Hi, my name is Ashley Medicks. I have lived with a whole body, debilitating and disfiguring skin disease for 43 years. I was diagnosed with a rare form of Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma, (Mycosis Fungoides), at the age of 17. It’s an incurable type of cancer of the immune system, which manifests itself in the skin. It came to public attention many years ago when the much loved actor Paul Eddington, (The Good Life, Yes Minister), died from it.
In 1994, having been in business for many years, I made a documentary for the BBC called ‘Scratching the Surface’. It changed my life.
I wanted it to highlight some of the fundamental issues which affect people who live with skin diseases, such as feelings of shame, embarrassment, alienation and pain. We live in a world where increasing amounts of undue emphasis is being placed on looking good. We’re surrounded by images of thin, tanned and beautiful people. An entire industry has sprung up to take advantage of our personal insecurities. Those of us who, through no fault of our own, have something about our physical appearance which makes us feel as if we can’t possibly live up to these ideals, sometimes end up feeling really miserable. Whilst doing research for the film, I discovered that there was no such thing as a general dermatology helpline in the UK, so, in 1995 I established the Registered Charity, Skinship (UK), providing support for sufferers of skin disease & skin cancer in the UK.
In 2006 I was fortunate enough to win the ‘Beacons of Hope’ award, offered by the Lymphoma Association, in the category, ‘Outstanding Contribution in Care and Support’, and in 2012 was offered the ‘Unsung Hero’ award in the Scottish Health Awards.