Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which white patches of skin appear over different parts of the body. These patches of skin are similar to those appearing on a person going through early stages of leukoderma. It happens because of the destructions of cells that make the skin’s pigment colour. These cells are called melanocytes. Vitiligo also affects the mucous membranes of the tissues inside the mouth and eyes.
The causes for vitiligo are as yet, unknown. It is believed that diseases like vitiligo occur when your immune system accidentally attacks a part of your own body. If your immune system ends up destroying melanocytes near one part of your body, that part of your body loses its pigmentation and starts to become white. In some cases, it has also been noticed that vitiligo can occur because of genetics.
Doctors are yet to come up with a full-fledged cure for vitiligo. Treatment does help, but the condition does not cease to be. In India, there are over 1 million cases of vitiligo every year. It usually occurs to people in their 20s but in some cases, vitiligo has no age. People suffering from Vitiligo go through major problems of depression and anxiety. This is because their skin condition makes them stand out and people judge them for this skin condition.
World Vitiligo Day 2017
World Vitiligo Day is a globally observed international awareness day on the 25th of June, every year. It was launched as an initiative to increase awareness of Vitiligo and provide support to its victims. Various Vitiligo support communities comprised of Skin Disease experts, doctors, victims and supporters gather on this day in order to conduct events that raise awareness about the disease.
Vitiligo, despite how common it is can be considered a neglected condition. Its victims require constant support and there needs to be more awareness about the unfortunate conditions in which Vitiligo victims live in. The disease has been around for ages and a cure is yet to be found, partly because the medical research community is usually caught up in searching for cures to more fatal diseases.
The idea of World Vitiligo day was first brought to the fore by Steve Haragadon, a community member of the Vitiligo Friends Group. This idea was taken a step further and made concrete by Nigerian Vitiligo patient, Ogo Maduewesi. Ogo Maduewesi is the founder and executive director of the Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF).
Why is the World Vitiligo Day 2017 Important?
According to her, World Vitiligo Day helps create awareness on it and is dedicated to all living with the condition. The first World Vitiligo day was observed on the 25th of June, 2011. On this day, Purple was the chosen colour to represent Vitiligo Awareness. This year, World Vitiligo Day will be internationally celebrated at Detroit, USA.
An international conference is being held at Detroit, hosted by Vitiligo support group, V-Strong. The event is being held from 23rd to 27th June, 2017 and includes a number of notable speakers and supporters of Vitiligo illustrating their experience to the masses. The theme of the event this year is, Step Up for Vitiligo: A Call for Truth, Hope & Change!!
A very notable example of a vitiligo victim is late world renown pop star, Michael Jackson. Diagnosed with Vitiligo in 1986, the legendary singer went on to go through a plastic surgery because he was judged by society for his changing physical appearance from Vitiligo. It should be noted that a lot of members go through societal judgement because of Vitiligo, despite people being aware that it is a serious skin condition that can happen to anyone.
World Vitiligo Day is observed on the 25th of June in honour of Michael Jackson, who is the most famous individual to have suffered from the disease. He also made several charity donations in order to boost Vitiligo support and awareness and was loved and cherished by the entire Vitiligo community.
Vitiligo is not an easy condition to live with and the medical research community needs to put in more efforts to push for a cure. Vitiligo victims go through a life of discrimination, judgement and anxiety and do not deserve it.