Sarah's Story

Printed with permission from Caboolture News. March 26th, 2008.
Article written by Nicole Richardson.

Scleroderma is Not an End to Life.

Young Sufferer has Personal Story of Hope.
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Four years ago Sarah Fairall from Deception Bay was an independent, energetic, adventurous and hardworking soldier in the Australian Army.
Now she has Scleroderma, preventing her from living a normal life.
In May 2003, a week after returning from a military exercise, Mrs Fairall suffered from fatigue, stiffening, swelling, pain, heat in her joints and muscles and frequent night sweats.
Little did she know these were symptoms of Scleroderma.
“My skin, mainly on the arms and legs, became puckered, tight, leathery and looked waxy,” Mrs Fairall said.
“My ability to move and complete simple everyday tasks, such as getting dressed and brushing my hair, was painful and difficult. I also had problems with bright lights and swallowing as my eyes and mouth were dry.”
After seven months, her diagnosis was confirmed with a punch biopsy and blood tests.
She was then discharged from the army, as there was no possibility of a full recovery.
“Scleroderma has changed my life dramatically,” she said
“The part which has affected me the most was the loss of not just a job, but a career. I also had depression, financial problems, loss of independence, change of diet, postponing having children – which put a strain on my marriage.”
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In an astonishing turn of events, Mrs Fairall fell pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby girl (Amy) four months ago.
“I am now happy to say I am stable and hoping this is as bad as it is going to get for a long time,” Mrs Fairall said.
“I want to start living my life again. I am just starting to accept my circumstances and am trying to be happy with what I have and what I do with my life. I don’t have any of that pain anymore and I have the use of my hands back. I had to wait a year or so to get off medication before I could even ask my doctor if I could try for children. So we had to put off for three years and even then, when you do fall pregnant, it’s classified as high risk.”
As part of Scleroderma Awareness Month, Mrs Fairall wanted to let sufferers know it was not the end of their lives. Especially for young sufferers, having a family is not out of the question anymore. Just be patient, wait until you’re feeling better and things will fall into place.”


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Please note: The new phone number for the Scleroderma Association of Queensland is 07 32773460. Our postal has changed too; it is PO Box 316, SALISBURY Qld. 4107. The new physical address of our office is 124A Evans Road Salisbury. If you would like to come and browse through some books in our library or have a chat or help, please visit on Wednesday between 9:30 and 12 midday.