WORLD VITILIGO DAY
Every year on June 25th, World Vitiligo Day celebrates the lives of those with vitiligo. It’s also a day to build global awareness about this skin disease.
Vitiligo is a disease that causes a loss of pigment cells called melanocytes. Up to 1% of the world’s population is affected by vitiligo. While it affects all genders and ethnic groups, it is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Vitiligo usually shows up in people between the ages of 20 and 30.
Early symptoms of vitiligo include:
- Premature graying of the hair on the scalp or the eyebrows.
- Loss of color on the inside of the mouth.
- Change in color of the eye’s retina.
The skin on any part of the body can be affected by vitiligo. Depigmentation of the skin usually begins on areas exposed to the sun. These body parts include the hands, arms, and face. For some people, vitiligo only affects a few areas of the body. For others, the loss of pigment occurs only on one side of the body. Some people might experience a widespread loss of pigment over the entire body.
Vitiligo only affects the skin. It does not cause sickness in the body. However, those with autoimmune disorders are more susceptible to vitiligo. This skin disease is also thought to be caused by genetics and environmental factors. While no cure exists, specific treatments help to improve the appearance of the skin.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldVitiligoDay
On this day, clinics and volunteer doctors offer free skin screenings. They also host educational events that are open to the public. National and local vitiligo support groups organize conferences, walks, parades, and other events, too. Each year, a different city hosts the WVD headquarters. These cities have included Rome, Detroit, Chandigarh, Shenyang, Prague, Sao Paulo, Boston, Hanoi, and Serbia.
- Read about famous people with vitiligo, including Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, Joe Rogan, and Winnie Harlow.
- Attend a vitiligo awareness event in your community.
- Help your child understand this skin disease by reading them a book, such as The Boy Behind the Face, Lucy’s Umbrella, Skin Deep: A Child’s Story or Vitiligo Doesn’t Scare Me.
Help spread awareness for this day by sharing #WorldVitiligoDay on social media.
WORLD VITILIGO DAY HISTORY
In 2011, Ogo Maduewesi from Lagos, Nigeria, came up with the idea for a vitiligo awareness day. At the time, Maduewesi was the president of the Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VSAF). He, along with a small number of activists, held a Vitiligo Purple Fun Day at a local shopping mall. They chose June 25th to commemorate the death of Michael Jackson. Yan Valle, CEO of Vitiligo Research Foundation (VRF) in New York, wanted to expand the idea of having a day dedicated to vitiligo awareness. Thanks to Valle’s efforts, the event became known as World Vitiligo Day. Today, it’s one of the largest grassroots health events on the planet.