When nurse practitioner Margaret Bobonich was diagnosed with rosacea in her late 20s, she had no idea she would be on television. As a healthcare professional, she knew rosacea was a chronic condition that required long-term medical therapy along with lifestyle modifications.
"Through the years, I had my share of flare-ups and sometimes they would be severe," Bobonich said. "I just tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle, comply with prescribed therapy, reduce stress and participate in sports activities to keep fit."
Like many Americans, Bobonich became intrigued by the television reality show, "Survivor." "In spite of having rosacea, I was a healthy and fit 43-year-old who still wanted to live life to its fullest," she said. "So, with the support of my husband and teenage sons, I tried out for the show and was chosen to participate in the 'Survivor - Guatemala' series."
With the help of her dermatologist, Bobonich focused on preventive measures to take while on the show. She applied topical medication daily, and made certain she was protected from the sun in a climate where temperatures may soar to over 120 degrees.
"Perhaps because I was the oldest cast member, I was the only one who made sure I wore sunscreen, a protective hat and light clothing to protect from the sun," she recalled. "I was very proud that my physical ability really wasn't an issue and that I never had a full-blown rosacea flare-up before I was voted off," she said.
Back home in Ohio, Bobonich is now working for a dermatology practice. She believes her personal and professional experience will help her impact the lives of others with rosacea. Her "Survivor" experience lives on as she has recently returned from a trip to Guatemala to aid in humanitarian efforts, and plans future trips there with a group of university students.