Please welcome my very special friend Jess from Liverpool, England. She is six years old and has hyperhidrosis, and she might be the youngest hyperhidrosis advocate in the world.
Jess’ parents, Hayley and Kevin, submitted their story to my blog last year. Right from the start, I felt a special connection with Jess and her family. We even had a Skype call earlier this year, and I got to talk to Jess and her mom (mum) for over an hour. It was hands down one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since starting my hyperhidrosis advocacy work eight years ago.
Without further ado, please meet Jess.
Speaking Up About Hyperhidrosis
When I asked Hayley if Jess would be willing to help me for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month, she said Jess’ whole face lit up with excitement. 🙂 Now that Jess knows she is not alone in living with hyperhidrosis, she is better able to cope with her condition. Jess calls it her “sweaty thing” and has no problem telling people about hyperhidrosis and what it means.
One of my favorite stories about Jess involves her new baby cousin, Leo. One day she was holding him when her hands started to sweat. Her uncle asked if she wanted to pass Leo back for a bit, and she promptly said,
“No, it’s okay, thank you. Leo will get used to my sweaty thing if he starts to learn about it now.”
And then she asked her mom for her special flannel that they carry everywhere, placed it between her hands and Leo, and carried on holding that baby!
Remember: Ask for what you need when it comes to coping with your hyperhidrosis.
Why Talking About Hyperhidrosis Matters
The thing that impresses me about Jess is that she’s learning to use her voice at such a young age. And she doesn’t apologize for speaking up, or for having sweaty hands and feet.
I know my initial reaction when meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand is usually, “Sorry my hands are so wet.” I’ve gotten a lot better about this, though, and I no longer apologize for how my body behaves. Each of us is different, and we all have something we are dealing with at any given time. Yet because we are all different, we are also the same.
We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. ~ Maya Angelou
Our Sweaty Tribe
If this is the first time you’ve visited my blog or realized that we now have an entire month dedicated to hyperhidrosis awareness, welcome to the sweaty tribe!
Once Jess found me, she felt less alone. On the days I feel discouraged and think the work I’m doing – my website views, number of social media followers, awards I’ve been nominated for but still haven’t won, etc. – isn’t making a difference, I think about my new friend across the pond in England. If Jess is the only person whose life I have touched, whom I’ve helped in some small way, that is enough for me.
I treasure the connection that is growing between me and her family, and I hope to one day meet Jess in person. I could cry right now just thinking about it. Jess is my spirit animal.
Join Me and Jess for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month
Want to get involved in Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month? Read my previous post and download the sign that Jess is holding above. Post a picture of yourself holding it and tag me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I will reshare your post. Make sure it’s set to public so I can see it.
Jess has lots more to say, so make sure you sign up for my hyperhidrosis email newsletter so you don’t miss a sweaty thing!