World Vitiligo Day is a public initiative aimed at building global awareness about vitiligo (pronounced: vit-til-EYE-go). The Vitiligo Research Foundation (see below) launched a website and an online petition, aimed at the United Nations, to highlight vitiligo and officially designate June 25 as World Vitiligo Day annually. The petition needs 500,000 signatures. It’s almost there!
And so you’re asking: what is vitiligo? It’s an acquired skin disease where the cells stop producing melanin – the pigment that gives color to skin – causing irregular white patches. There is no way to tell where the patches will form, or if they will spread; however, they are more common on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun.
You might have heard of vitiligo because pop star Michael Jackson suffered from it. But since the beginning of history people all over the world, regardless of gender or nationality, have struggled with vitiligo. Today, as many as two million Americans have vitiligo. By many estimates, it affects more than 100 million people worldwide.
You’re also asking: why does the world need a vitiligo day? Vitiligo is not life-threatening or contagious. It’s not well-known compared to lots of other diseases and disorders. But let’s take a moment to realize what vitiligo does: Many of them are forced to live in the shadows of society. They become anxious and self-conscious. They often receive no support from healthcare providers or insurance companies. Depression and low quality of life is common among vitiligo sufferers.
The cause of vitiligo is unknown. There are accepted treatments depending on the severity, but no cure.
A petition has been created to officially designate June 25 as World Vitiligo Day every year. It is almost there. Click here to add your name to 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. The organization is committed to a mission of developing effective treatments for millions of people around the world who suffer from vitiligo.
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 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.