Irish actor Colin Farrell has called on the public to support the "bravest human he has ever met" as a Laois woman prepares to battle an extremely painful skin condition on a 22-mile assisted walk for charity.
Emma Fogarty, 35, from Abbeyleix in County Laois, was born with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare skin condition that causes skin layers and internal body layers to blister and wound at the slightest touch.
Emma will celebrate her 36th birthday on June 25 by battling through enormous pain and completing a 36-kilometer (22 miles) assisted walk to raise funds for Debra, a charity that supports people suffering from EB.
Farrell recorded a video in support of her campaign from his home in Los Angeles and called her a dear friend and the bravest human he ever met.
The Irish actor said that nothing could have stopped Emma from taking on the grueling challenge.
"I'm really nervous for her but I didn't even try and stop her because she's like a bull in a china shop when it comes to her determination and will," he said.
"She wants to show people that even though she lives with the severity of the pain of this condition, it does not hinder her ability to express herself and live the life that she wants to live."
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Around 80% of Emma's body is covered in open wounds due to her condition and she is bandaged every second day. She now uses a wheelchair after a health setback last year.
The 35-year-old described the unimaginable pain that accompanies her rare condition.
"The pain I endure, all the time, whether I’m sitting in a chair or lying in bed, is considerable, and I am on a huge amount of medication," she said.
"But I'm not going to let that beat me. My birthday is on June 25, and to mark it, I’m embarking on this challenge to prove a point."
Emma underwent life-altering surgery last year and doctors told her that she would never walk again. Her assistant Georgina Herlihy, therefore, is going to push her for the 36 kilometers.
However, she said that every ramp and pothole that she passes over will cause more wounds and pain on her body and said that the assisted walk would be an endurance test.
"I can guarantee you that I will have many more wounds at the end of this challenge than I did at the beginning."
She is calling on people to join her on the walk if they can, in addition to donating to her cause.
She is trying to raise €36,000 by the time she completes the walk on June 25 through her Just Giving page.
Irish rugby captain Johnny Sexton is an ambassador for Debra and said that, while Emma's challenge might not seem daunting for a healthy person, it is going to be extremely difficult for her.
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