Have you ever woken up one morning to discover an abscess that would grow to the size of a baseball in your armpit? I have. I have HS or Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and so does up to 4% of the population. That’s 230 million people, and yet no one is talking about it. Well, I will. Jackson Gillies, an 18-year-old student at SBCC. His life took a significant turn when he won Santa Barbara’s Teen Star USA crown in 2016. He has performed at the Concert to End Gun Violence Across America with Kenny Loggins and opened for Jim Messina.
Four years ago Jackson developed the first sign of another disease. After a few misdiagnoses, his condition was pegged as Hidradenitis Suppurativa, an autoinflammatory disease that causes painful skin abscesses. HS afflicts as many as 4% of the population (potentially 30 million people), yet is rarely discussed or studied. HS can be physically, psychologically, and socially debilitating, the lesions affecting the most sensitive parts of the body, places where there is skin to skin contact.
Despite all this, and after five surgeries, Jackson conceived, produced, and starred in the “Something That Matters Concert” to raise awareness about Hidradenitis Suppurativa. He was the first performer to step into the light about the disease