The National Psoriasis Foundation was created in 1967 by volunteers. For more than 50 years, patients, families, friends, scientists and health care providers have pitched in to help our cause. Volunteering takes many forms, from following us on Facebook to running with Team NPF to sharing your story with the people who represent you at the state and federal levels.
In this series, you’ll meet a crew who, in their own quiet, steady way, have been working hard to help everyone with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Today: Derek and Isaac Schujahn.
Derek Schujahn, from Franklin, Tennessee, knows all too well that psoriatic disease can impact a whole family. His youngest son, Isaac, who is about to turn 18, was diagnosed with psoriasis at age 6.
The roller coaster of treatments – finding one that works and starting the whole process over again when a drug stops working – has been physically and emotionally exhausting.
Watching his son feel isolated has been hard for Derek. There have been many nights over the past 12 years when he prayed he could take his son’s place. “As a dad, you reach a point where you feel completely helpless,” he says.
In order to do something – and get himself back into shape – Derek signed up for a triathlon. And to keep himself motivated, he dedicated his race to his son by raising money for Team NPF.
In the months leading up to the event, Derek woke up before sunrise to run, ride his bike and swim as much as possible. His training paid off, as he finished the triathlon in just over three hours and raised $500.
When Isaac first learned about his dad’s fundraising efforts, he was concerned about drawing attention to his psoriasis. But seeing his dad’s hard work and perseverance changed that perspective.
“I’m really proud of him,” says Isaac. “Because [training] is something he hasn’t done in so long.”
While Isaac isn’t quite ready to join his dad at the next triathlon, he will be there to give him the emotional support (and go for the occasional early morning jog with him).
Get moving with Team NPF
Run, walk and ride in support for NPF. Whether attending an official event, or participating in your own activity, raising money for research has never been so fun. Learn more about Team NPF here.
More from our series of community profiles:
- A lawyer advocates for a new client: herself
- Finding a community, gaining a voice
- Searching for answers through science
Photo: Morgan Nagle
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.