Grapevine man receives volunteer award from National Psoriasis Foundation

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A longtime sufferer from psoriasis and later psoriatic arthritis, Matthew Kiselica did his best not to let the autoimmune disease get him down.

But when the painful affliction took over more than 60 percent of his body, requiring him to use a cane, he knew he needed more than medical help.

“A lot of people with knowledge of the disease reached out to me and helped me,” said Kiselica of Grapevine. “I learned to be proactive with the disease.”

Today, with the aid of advancements in treatment, Kiselica said, “I don’t even notice it.”

Kiselica, who works for a securities firm in Dallas, said help from others spurred him to want to “pay it forward.” Thirteen years ago, he began volunteering with the National Psoriasis Foundation.

The foundation recently recognized his dedication with its Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award.

Members at the annual convention in Chicago lauded him and other volunteers for dedicating countless hours to helping the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis. The convention promoted August as National Psoriasis Awareness month.

According to the group, psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the country, causing the skin to crack, itch and bleed. Psoriatic arthritis is a related joint disease that affects up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis.

Kiselica, 46, who has had psoriasis for 27 years and psoriatic arthritis for 17 years,

is chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Dallas Community Division, where he recruits and trains local volunteers in advocacy, fundraising and outreach. He also is active in Walk to Cure Psoriasis in Dallas, raising funds for research to cure the diseases as a member of a walk team with teammates throughout the United States and Canada.

Kiselica knows first-hand how ostracized sufferers of psoriasis can feel.

“A lot of people are self conscious with the disease,” he said. “I want to tell them, ‘Hey, you are not alone. You don’t have to be shunned.’”

Although the volunteer award is wonderful, Kiselica says he has already received the greatest reward from his association with the group.

“I met my wife Cat at the National Psoriasis Foundation conference in Boston in 2005,” he said. “We became friends and got married on May 16, 2008.”

Marty Sabota, 817-3907367

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