Today, June 25, 2013, is World Vitiligo Day, a day that aims to increase awareness of vitiligo and raise funds needed for research and education.
Michael Jackson, one of the most famous entertainers in the world, suffered from vitiligo. And even after his death it’s still one of the most misunderstood things about the king of pop. Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which there is a loss of color (pigment) from areas of skin, resulting in irregular white patches that feel like normal skin. It’s the reason one of the most famous men on the planet went from black to white.
Well over 100 million people from all over the world suffer from this disease. It affects all nationalities, ages, genders and levels of social strata.
Vitiligo is an acquired disease characterized by progressing skin depigmentation, due to destruction or malfunction of melanocytes, cells that produce melanin. It is present worldwide, and its prevalence in different countries ranges from less than 0.1% to more than 8% of general population (~1% in the United States and in Europe), while many cases go unreported due to the current dermatology practice.
Although vitiligo has impacted the lives of millions of individuals since recorded history, predominantly in the developing world, there is no cure in sight. And because it is not contagious or life-threatening, patients often receive no support from national healthcare systems or insurance companies whatsoever.
The World Vitiligo Day is a public initiative aimed at building global awareness about vitiligo. Click here to join a list of 500,000 signatures needed to address the United Nations and highlight vitiligo.
Check out these resources on vitiligo:
Firmly committed to curing Vitiligo, the VR Foundation is a non-profit organization funding and fast-tracking medical research across the biomedical spectrum. With bio-IT tools, it provides a collaborative an environment to bridge the gap between scientific frontiers and the patients who need treatment. The VRF has recently joined a group of biotech companies that are bypassing traditional mass-market cosmetic and orphan drug development indications to expedite product development.
Vitiligo Bond Inc.
Founded in November 2010, Vitiligo Bond Inc. (VBI) is a registered nonprofit 501c(3) organization that aims to provide support for those living with vitiligo. VBI has grown into a worldwide support group, through its Facebook and social media presence. As an advocacy organization, VBI is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for vitiligo; increasing awareness of vitiligo spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with vitiligo and their families. Natasha Pierre, founder of VBI, is a current vitiligan. Her experience in living with the skin disorder has given her the passion and understanding of vitiligo.
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American Academy of Dermatology
The AAD is the largest, most influential and most representative dermatology group in the United States. With a membership of more than 17,000, it represents virtually all practicing dermatologists in the United States, as well as a growing number of international dermatologists. Read what the AAD says about vitiligo and the importance of sun protection. Find a board certified dermatologist.
Read about other famous people with vitiligo: NY Jets DL Coach Karl Dunbar – Seeing Beyond My Vitiligo.
Michael Jackson photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson
A portion of this post is part of a news release originally published by the VR Foundation.