When Arizona mom Ashley Nagy noticed her daughter, Charlie, getting sick just a few days after she was born, she couldn’t help but worry. With all of the diseases that can invade a newborn’s fragile immune system, Ashley was desperate to find out what was wrong with her baby girl.
The first sign that something was off came in the form of a red rash on Charlie’s neck—but it wasn’t long before the blotches spread throughout the rest of her body. Ashley initially suspected it was a milk rash, but as the red dots started to pop up on her armpits and legs, she knew there must be a deeper-rooted issue.
She took 2-week-old Charlie to the doctor where she was given fungal cream and antibiotics to treat the skin issue, but as Ashley started spotting more dots on her baby’s stomach, the prescriptions quickly proved ineffective.
She didn’t know it yet, but her newborn was already having her first psoriasis flare-up.
Though doctors were stunned to see the condition in such a young patient, Charlie was diagnosed with Psoriasis Vulgaris at only four months old.
The skin disease is characterized as an “immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin,” according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The immune system signals the body to produce unnecessary skin cells that eventually compile to form irritable patches.
Charlie’s rash continued to fester and spread, and by the time she was 6-months-old, she had to be hospitalized for three days and put on immune suppressants.
Because her immune system was so weak, Charlie couldn’t even go to parks or daycare.
The everyday germs we all can handle with ease would put her at high risk for health complications.
Ashley has since decided to forego the suppressants for natural remedies.
“We stick to no gluten and no diary diets for Charlie, then she really only will flare up when she gets sick,” says Ashley. “If she has some sort of cold, it will set off her immune system.”
Though the psoriasis has become manageable, what has not is public perception of the disease.
On top of seeing her daughter in such excruciating pain, the nasty stares Charlie gets from strangers weigh on Ashley even further.
She even recalled a specific moment where a mother pulled her child away from Charlie at the mall:
“I remember being in an elevator and I saw a little girl walk up to Charlie. She held her hand and the mom pulled her away. I thought, ‘Oh, she probably thinks she’s contagious.’ So I just picked her up, held her, and kissed on her. That time I explained that it was psoriasis and her daughter couldn’t catch it. From then on, I started putting my hand on her arm or cheek, just to show that other people can’t catch it.”
“I don’t think people are trying to be cruel,” explained Ashley. “They just want to be cautious, and don’t want to catch it. I also don’t want people to feel uncomfortable and am not confrontational.”
Now this mother is on a mission to raise awareness about psoriasis so that others can gain a better understanding of the disease.
Ashley now makes it a point to kiss and cuddle her daughter in public as much as she can to send the message that psoriasis is not nearly as scary as it seems.
But like any mother would, she often wishes she could take her baby’s place.
“My husband and I always say, ‘God, give it to me. Why does she have to go through it?’”
On top of hosting a 5K fundraiser for psoriasis awareness and launching a GoFundMe, the mother has created an Instagram account documenting her daughter’s journey.
Simply to encourage kindness and love. Two things our world could certainly use a little more of.
“My mission right now is to raise awareness of psoriasis,” shares Ashley. “So many people have heard the word but don’t know what it looks like, or what the emotional trauma people with psoriasis go through […] I also want to encourage people to be kind to one another. You never know another person is going through. But no matter what your child is going through, be their advocate, and love them no matter what.”
In the process of raising awareness, Ashley also hopes to raise a strong, fearless daughter who doesn’t feel ashamed to walk out in public.
“I also want to raise my daughter to be a fearless and confident woman. As a mom, I want to make sure she knows her worth.”
And her worth is NOT dictated by the condition of her skin, but the condition of her heart.
Kudos to this strong mama for advocating for her daughter and spreading a much needed message to America.
Charlie, psoriasis or not, you are surely fearfully and wonderfully made. 💛
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” ~Psalm 139:14