With the naming of June 25th as World Vitiligo Day, June has become a month of advocacy and awareness for the vitiligo community. Only 1% of the world’s population has vitiligo – and that means that 99% of the world needs to know about this condition without a cure.
Let’s start spreading the word. Whether you’re celebrating, raising awareness or making the call for a cure, now is your time to stand up for vitiligo. Here are six ways you can be an advocate for vitiligo this June.
Be “loud and proud” on social media
With hundreds of thousands of posts with #vitiligo on Instagram alone, social media is becoming a platform for raising awareness about the condition. Jump on your favorite channel to spread the word about vitiligo by telling your story, sharing a fact or simply using the hashtag.
Donate to a vitiligo nonprofit or research center – and ask others to do the same.
Every day, there are hundreds of doctors, researchers, lobbyists and patients at work for the vitiligo community – and they need your help. Whether you donate to a nonprofit that provides support group networks, a research lab working to find a cure, or a global support group that advocates on behalf of those with vitiligo, your donation will go a long way to helping the vitiligo community.
Host a fundraiser and donate the proceeds
The vitiligo community needs funds for research, events like World Vitiligo Day, awareness campaigns and more. Host a bake sale, car wash, dinner, 5K race or any other type of event to raise funds that can be donated to a non-profit or support group of your choice. Start by reaching out to dermatology offices or support groups in your area to build support for the event. Find a cause to raise funds for. And then get planning!
Wear a vitiligo t-shirt
Advocacy doesn’t have to mean raising money and knocking on doors. Sometimes its as simple as wearing a t-shirt about vitiligo and being willing to answer questions about it. Wearing a t-shirt is an easy way to let the world know that you either have vitiligo or support someone with vitiligo – and you’re proud of it. Start by shopping Living Dappled’s tee collection.
Share your own vitiligo story
According to John Harris, director of the University of Massachusetts Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center, everything that needs to be done for vitiligo patients, including funding, research and lobbying, comes back to raising awareness by telling the stories of people with vitiligo – including your story. Share your experience with vitiligo by reaching out to a local newspaper; posting photos on social; or contacting local nonprofit organizations and blogs.
Send a postcard or letter to your local government officials
We need elected officials at every level – city hall, school board, governors, state legislators, senators and the president – to be aware of what vitiligo is; to understand that we need more money for research; to influence insurance companies to see it as a disease instead of a cosmetic issue so that it will be covered by insurance; to put money towards raising awareness through public service announcements; and to increase information in schools to end bullying. You can help raise awareness by writing a letter or sending a postcard to your local elected official. Find a full guide on how to send a postcard – including a downloadable template – here.
How will you raise awareness this month?
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.