The vitiligo community is making big moves in raising awareness and increasing support for those living with spots. Here’s just a snapshot of some of our biggest accomplishments this year.
Launching the “Step Up for Vitiligo” Campaign
In March 2016, the Vitiligo Working Group (VWG) launched the “Step Up For Vitiligo” campaign, a movement created to build vitiligo awareness and support. Named to reflect the need for action in the vitiligo community, the campaign encourages people to “step up” for vitiligo – as advocates, awareness raisers, ambassadors and supporters. At the center of the campaign is the award-winning video, “Vitiligo: Hope, Truth and Change.” Featuring powerful stories from vitiligo doctors and patients, the video explains the state of vitiligo today – who has it, what it is and how to treat it, and how emotionally and psychologically devastating it can be. If you’ve ever struggled to help your friends and family understand what you’re going through, this video will do it for you. It captures the emotional journey of living with vitiligo and explains the science and facts behind it. Today the YouTube video has been viewed more than 200,000 times, increasing awareness for the vitiligo community.
Gathering hundreds of people with vitiligo at the World Vitiligo Day Rally in Washington, D.C.
In honor of World Vitiligo Day on June 25, vitiligo organizations got together to host a rally in Washington, D.C. this past summer. The event drew hundreds of people with vitiligo from across the country and around the world. Over two days, the rally gathered people to hear from dermatologists, researchers and leaders in the vitiligo community, lobby the U.S. government and support others living with the condition.
Establishing the Global Vitiligo Support Community
Established in 2016, the Global Vitiligo Support Community (GVSC) is a coalition of patients representing vitiligo support groups and promoting unity. Headed by Dr. Richard Huggins, a dermatologist at Henry Ford Hospital, the group serves as an umbrella organization for information-sharing and collaboration among vitiligo support groups and provides resources and education for those with vitiligo. Learn more about the GVSC at http://www.vitiligoworkinggroup.com/global-vitiligo-support-community.
Raising public awareness through traditional and social media
Did you know that as of this year, there are more than 85,000 uses of the hashtag #vitiligo on Instagram? That’s 85,000 times that someone chose to raise awareness for the vitiligo community by putting their name and image out there. Beyond social media, those in the vitiligo community have been sharing their stories through ads, interviews and magazine features. Recently, you may have seen Breanne Rice share her story on Dr. Phil and Winnie Harlow talk about her life with vitiligo in H&M’s latest campaign.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.