Hattie Sandager is a soft-spoken, art-loving, 10-year-old student at Gleason Lake Elementary in Plymouth. By all accounts, she's a typical girl. But unlike the rest of her classmates, you'll always see her wearing gloves at school.
"At times it's embarrassing to have gloves on," Hattie said. "Because it's just different, and some kids think it's weird or they just have... I can tell they have different thoughts."
Hattie suffers from an allergic reaction to chemicals that you'd find in most household cleaning products -- things like popular soaps, laundry detergents, lotions, air fresheners, and even glue.
"She is allergic to, the worst one being methylisothiazolinone, shortened name is is MI," said Hattie's mother, Jill Sandager.
Jill says MI is a preservative found in many popular products. If Hattie comes in contact with the chemical, her fingers could flare up.
"My fingertips would get really puffy and red and cracked and really dry, and my fingernails would get dented sort of, and pitted," Jill said.
Getting this official diagnosis took eight years worth of visits to various doctors. It took a toll on both Hattie and Jill.
"Frustration. Disappointment. Feeling like a failure as a mom," Jill said. "Not knowing what to do for her."
Now, they have answers, and to help prevent the allergic reactions, Jill replaced all of the cleaning items in her home with products that don't contain MI.
Meawhile, over at Gleason Lake Elementary, the district installed a touch-free faucet in Hattie's classroom .
"So that I don't have to get all the soap residue that's on there, on my hands, and so they won't flare up as much," Hattie said.
However, Hattie still gets flare-ups, which is why Jill is on a mission to find a long-term fix.
"One is to get clear ingredient labeling on, especially, cleaning supplies," Jill said. "Because we're putting this stuff on our tables and our dish soap."
There's no guarantee that the family will get their wish for better labeling, but at least Hattie knows she has people fighting on her behalf.
"I'm glad I have good friends and family who care about it," Hattie said.
Jill's other big goal is for lawmakers to regulate the use of the chemical that's responsible for her daughter's allergic reactions.
May 2, 2017