Hi family, friends, and world,
I will be running in my 1st marathon ever, the 2014 NYC marathon on November 2.
I have two main purposes for running the race:
1. To bring awareness to a medical condition called vitiligo (vit-ill-EYE-go)
2. To raise money to go towards research for a cure for vitiligo
100% of the money raised will go to the Vitiligo Research Foundation, an organization that seeks to provide research, support, and education for those with vitiligo. 100% of the awareness is free and only requires you to read the rest of this description.
Five years ago, I learned that I had vitiligo. I first noticed some white skin patches on my upper arms. Not sure what this was, I consulted a doctor and was told that this was vitiligo. At the time, little did I know that this was the beginning of a new journey filled with triumphs, challenges, and growth. This has been an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It has helped me meet tremendously inspiring people, given me additional purpose to my life, and placed me on a platform to impact and touch others.
Thank you so much for coming to my page (fulfilling my goal #1 above) and also for considering donating.
Additionally, I am raising awareness for two organizations that I have been involved in and are doing tremendous work to bring awareness and support to the vitiligo community. Vitfriends and the Southeast Michigan Vitiligo Support Group are like family to me.
Please feel free to pass this along to others!
What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is the Michael Jackson skin condition. It causes parts of the skin to lose pigment, leading to lighter patches of skin. These patches can continue to grow throughout one’s life or remain stable. It affects all races and genders equally and approximately 1-2% of the world (100 million people) has this.
Who has vitiligo?
Anybody can get it. In addition to Michael Jackson, other well-known individuals who have vitiligo include Jon Hamm (actor), Holly Marie Combs (actress), Tamar Braxton (singer), Lee Thomas (TV broadcaster), Sisqo (singer), Joe Rogan (comedian), Rasheed Wallace (basketball player), and Scott Jorgensen (UFC).
What causes vitiligo?
No one really knows. Some have pointed out factors including stress, genetics, too much oxidation in the body, or an autoimmune response (whereby the melanocytes, or skin pigment cells are attacked by immune system).
What treatments area available for vitiligo?
Since there is no cure, treatments include various types of light therapy and topical lotions, most of which are mildly effective, if at all. Individuals with vitiligo also face insurance challenges since most insurance companies consider vitiligo as a cosmetic condition rather than a medical one.
What is it like to have vitiligo?
For many, there are mental challenges given that one’s external appearance has changed or is continually changing. Because many people still do not know what it is, people may often stare at people with vitiligo. Additionally, since the portrayals of beauty in the media are one-dimensional, society is still coming to grips on how to understand different types of external appearances including vitiligo. It is exciting, however, to see, that some of this may be changing with individuals such as Chantelle Brown-Young, who has vitiligo, being cast on the recent season of America’s Next Top Model. Despite challenges, those with vitiligo are often able to see nuances of beauty, both inside and out, that are often not as apparent to others.