Sophia loves football - In her world difficult never equaled impossible - Debra Ireland

Sophia loves football – In her world difficult never equaled impossible

Sophia is 12, and she loves playing sport. Especially football. But unfortunately her skin suffers from painful blisters especially after training and matches. Her journey with football hasn’t been easy.

Sophia is from Co Meath and has lived with EB simplex, which causes painful blisters on her feet, all her life. Regardless of her EB, she was determined to help her side become league champions.

“I have a skin condition called EB simplex. My feet burn, sting and blister after playing. They feel like they’re on fire. This is extremely painful and makes me sad.”

Despite her condition, she battled through the pain to play every game in goals last season for Donacarney Celtic Under 12s as they finished top of the Metropolitan Girls League Division A.

Matches are the most difficult for Sophia. She starts having panic attacks before and often during matches as she knows the pain that’s ahead of her.

“I come off at half time – use ice packs and take pain relief but this makes me feel even more uncomfortable. I don’t want to be any different to my team mates.”

Living with EB is hard for so many children especially those who love being active and playing sport. They just want to be like everyone else.

The young player said she managed to convince her parents to let her join a team after she enjoyed playing with friends.

“Before I joined Donacarney, I loved playing football outside with my friends,” she said

“All of my friends were joining football clubs and I kept asking my parents if I could.

“Eventually they gave in and said I could give it a go.”

Sophia supports Manchester United and said her favourite player is Marcus Rashford because of his “ability and charity work”.

She said she managed to play the full season despite the pain in her feet caused by her condition.

“I played one whole football season as a goalkeeper, even though my feet burn, sting and blister after matches,” she said.

“My parents were incredibly proud of me, because of the ups and downs I went through, and our team even won the league.

“I couldn’t believe my luck at the awards ceremony when I was named player’s player of the year. My mam even cried.”

“I wish more people knew about EB and the many types of EB. People don’t necessarily see me in my bandages and ruined dressings so assume I’m fine. I wish for one day there to be a cure for all types of EB and with Debra’s support we might just get there.”

Your support of Debra means we can be there for people like Sophia to access the resources they need and fund vital research to find effective treatments.