The Issue: Psychological Damage from Skin Disorder
Vitiligo is a noncontagious pigmentation disorder that destroys melanocytes in the skin, resulting in white patches across the body and scalp. Vitiligo affects approximately 1–2 million people in the United States, half of whom develop the condition before the age of 20, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Vitiligo is a skin disorder where your skin turns white. Though the patches of white skin do not cause physical pain, their appearance can lead to psychological effects including embarrassment, anxiety, and depression. To some, the skin patches may look like a burn and to others, it may look like a contagious disease. For those with Vitiligo, the skin disorder makes us feel alienated and discriminated against by many who do not understand what we have.
For us Vitiligians, while we wait for efforts to be made in finding a cure for this cause, or just de-pigmentation options, we wish for awareness so we can go on to live our lives equally without feeling less than perfect, often forcing us to live alternative lifestyles or to live our lives indoors.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20500
Re: Proclamation Request – June National Vitiligo Awareness Month and June 25th 2015 World Vitiligo Awareness Day.
Dear President Obama:
We, the undersigned, urge you to create a Vitiligo Awareness World Day on June 25th, 2014 (6/25/15) and June 2015 as Vitiligo Awareness Month.
Since biblical times, human nature has discriminated against skin (Exodus 4:6,7 Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow. “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.)
To this date, vitiligo sufferers have no known official color, day, month or type of awareness. I have since then started an organization, Vitiligo Bond Inc., a group with over hundreds of members growing daily. We all share the common bond of living with vitilgo.
My organization, Vitiligo Bond Inc. (VBI), would be honored if you would sponsor an official proclamation to recognize June as National Vitiligo Awareness Month. Your proclamation would lend official recognition to the important work being done to raise awareness about this skin disease and elevate the physical and mental well-being of vitiligans.
Vitiligo is a noncontagious pigmentation disorder that destroys melanocytes in the skin, resulting in white patches across the body and scalp. Though the patches of white skin do not cause physical pain, their appearance can lead to psychological effects including embarrassment, anxiety, and depression. This benign skin disorder causes 65 million people around the world to live in hiding, suffer from low self-esteem, and resort to contemplating the end of life. The societal pressures of living with vitiligo can be eased through greater public awareness and recognition.
As someone living with vitiligo, I have seen how easily this skin disorder can not only become a health disparity, but also the way in which vitiligans feel alienated and discriminated against by those who do not understand the disease. Many health insurance companies treat vitiligo as an esthetic skin condition, not usually covered by insurance plans. Since the medical community views the disorder as cosmetic, no urgency is placed on finding a cure. Vitiligans resort to finding alternative holistic remedies or black market products to bring their pigment back or eliminate the pigment permanently. Though a few organizations have attempted to find a cure or the cause of vitiligo since the mid-1980s, none have been successful. A national proclamation for Vitiligo Awareness could serve as a catalyst in the search for a cure.
In 2010, I began VBI, a registered nonprofit 501c(3) with hundreds of members nationally and internationally, to create a community where those living with vitiligo could share experiences and feel empowered. Membership in our private online support group, where we all share the common bond of vitiligo together, grows daily. To date, VBI has received proclamations from nine states in the U.S.: Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
I am writing to beseech you, on behalf of over 2 million vitiligans in the U.S., to declare an official proclamation recognizing June as National Vitiligo Awareness Month. This opportunity to not only promote awareness and combat stigma, but also empower and strengthen the self-esteem of vitiligo sufferers and their families, will go a long way towards achieving greater public awareness for the skin disorder.
• Declare a message to the US and the rest of the world that June 25, 2015 is World Vitiligo Awareness Day and June is Vitiligo Awareness Month.
I appreciate your support and thank you for your consideration of this vital issue.
Thank you for your attention.