We are Featuring a VITILIGO FRIEND whom we consider a
To be considered for this page, please send the following to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Your Name 2. Short Story / BIO of your vitiligo journey(3 paragraphs ONLY) 3. YOUR Photo
Our theme: "My Spots are Beautiful.."
This is clearly demonstrated by our
Fearless Beauty for GAP Kids.
April Star joined us on the U S Capitol Steps, Washington, D.C. in 2016 for World Vitiligo Day and
shared her Beauty, Her Story and her SPOTS!
Teen Leader Coordinator - April Star
Purple Patch Teen - LEADER
My name is Isabella, though I prefer to be called Bella. I am sixteen years old and a sophomore in high school. I have lived in New Jersey my whole life and have two younger brothers, who always keep me entertained. I have a very busy schedule, as I am a competitive swimmer and dedicate about twelve hours per week to practice. I am also extremely involved at my school, taking challenging classes and participating in multiple clubs. I work as a lifeguard to assist the aquatics program at the YMCA and have grown to really enjoy it. In my free time I enjoy baking and listening to music. My favorite tv show of all time is Friends (I have probably watched it at least three times through).
I was diagnosed with vitiligo when I was twelve years old-about to turn thirteen. I remember my mom was straightening my hair for Christmas Eve and noticed white spots on the back of my neck. She immediately thought that it was Tinea Versicolor, but took me to a dermatologist to confirm. The doctor diagnosed me with vitiligo, a term that was foreign to me. I was prescribed a topical cream, which I used for about a year, but saw little results. At that point, the vitiligo began to spread to more areas: first it was my neck, then my knee, then my chest, and finally above my eyebrows. When my vitiligo started to really take a toll on my mental and physical state, my grandfather, a doctor, helped connect me with an incredible specialist who made a significant impact on my vitiligo journey. He prescribed phototherapy, in addition to two topical creams. The combined treatment has worked wonders, and looking at me now one might never know that I have vitiligo. However, I do still have vitiligo. I understand that I will most likely get new spots in the future, but that is okay because I have learned to accept that vitiligo will always be a part of my life. I am excited to be a part of the Purple Patch because I believe it will help other teens become connected and understand that there are other people in the same boat as them. I hope my story will help others realize that there are ways to manage their vitiligo and although they may not be effective, we are all in this together and we are strong and confident in our own skin.
Purple Patch Teen - LEADER
Meet Taya T from Boston, MA. Taya is a high school Junior who is dedicated and focused. Taya is very active in the Boston Vitfriend group attending meeting regularly, working at our vendor table at several Health Fairs and more.
Taya has a beautiful, kind and helpful nature and she is loved my our members. She was interviewed on our VITFriends podcast and also LIVE on facebook.
Taya is years years old and has had Vitiligo since she was 7-8 years old. She like to sing and write poetryand dreams of growing up and helping kids.
In 2018, Taya was one of our youth VITFriends sponsored to attend our Annual Conference which was co-hosted by VITFriends and UMass Medical - Dr. John Harris and she said...:It changed my life.". , In 2019, several of us attended Taya's preformace as Lena Horne as she sang and danced at the famous Boston Strand Theatre.
We are very PROUD of Taya and wish her continued success as she dreams big, with hopes of one day being a Child Pyschologist!
Ja’Hirah Hawthorne says: I am a junior in high school. Outside of school I enjoy being around friends and family. A few weeks ago I got my first job at Panda Express and I love the atmosphere. My birthday is February 9th which means I’m an Aquarius. A hobby of mine would be studying zodiac signs in my free time, which is rare because of my busy schedule.I am the leader of the Ja'Hirah Darielle Foundation, Inc.(JDF) a nonprofit organization that’s done giveaways, hygiene drives, and seated a few people at Lambeau Field. My mother reminds me daily that I’m beautifully and wonderfully made. I’m proud to be in the skin I’m in and I hope to inspire people not only with vitiligo.
I was diagnosed with vitiligo at 4 years young after I scraped my knee at the park, the scab healed but turned a lighter patch. Sooner than later my mom noticed patches on my other knee and different areas of my body that I did not scrape. That's when I was taken to the dermatologist and diagnosed with the “Michael Jackson Disease”. Growing up with vitiligo wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I have a great support system and I thank my family and friends for that. I appreciate my number one supporter the most, my mother, who has tried to help me find my purpose. She’s helped me gain an opportunity to meet and speak in front of hundreds of people with vitiligo, which made me feel more comfortable
in my shoes because everyone at the conference was in the same boat as me.
**Meet Our Vitiligo STARS**
Ashley H is a beautiful 16 years old young lady who is from Virginia.
Ashley is an in the 11th grade who is a cheerleader with hopes to one day become an ultrasound technician.
Asharia F from Indiana is 16 years old and likes to make TikTok videos and watching crime documentaries in her free time.
Asharia was first diagnosed with Vitiligo as a 5yr old kindergarten. She attends Warren Central High School as a Junior. Her favorite class is Criminal Justice and she aspires to be a detective one day.
Tiffany T, from Indiana is 18 years old and a 2020 high school graduate. Tiffany was around 13 years old when she was diagnosed with vitiligo.
Tiffany is passionate about animals and making sure that they are taken very good care of. For extra-curricular activities while in high school she studied American Sign Language and is fluent in it. Her focus is to get into veterinary studies because of her love for animal and the fact that she also have experience.
Alexandra “Allie” B is a 17 years old from Kentucky. Allie is preparing for a 2021 high chool graduation.
Allie was diagnosed with Vitiligo in 2017, she has two dogs that she loves.
Vitiligo runs in my family. My maternal grandfather states that he has a lot of relatives with vitiligo, including one of his brother and one of his nephew. In May 2019, in Kingston Jamaica I met my grandfather’s nephew who has vitiligo. His vitiligo also started when he was around 7 years old. Today about 97% of his body is completely white.
In 2018, I went to my aunt’s father’s funeral in Boston MA; a lady came over to my mom and asked if I have vitiligo, my mom told her yes. The lady told my mom that her mother (Sandra Blackett) has it too and there’s a support group. Sandra Blackett provided my mother with the information for the Florida Vitiligo Support Group. On August 25, 2018 My mother and I went to our first Vitiligo Support Group meeting, on that day we officially became members of Beautifully Unblemished.
Vitiligo to me is just a skin disorder. it doesn’t define who I am or what I’m capable of doing. I often forget that I have vitiligo until someone starts staring at me or when i’m at the beach and get sunburn. My mother has always taught me that vitiligo is not something that I should be embarrassed about because it’s not in my control. My mother has taught me an affirmation which I say daily to remind me of who I truly am. The affirmation is something her high school principal taught her, it goes like this “I am Lovable, Capable, Valuable and Special.” My mom added Beautiful to the affirmation, as she reminds me daily that I am beautiful.
Aliya Sawyer; Lowell, MA
Aliya is a beautiful 6 year old girl who was born in Oceanside, CA; she was a preemie at ONLY 1lb 15oz.
Aliya loves drawing, singing and playing with her dolls and her baby cousins.
Aliya is currently in 1st grade and she is a very good student whose last report card shows ALL A's. Aliya loves school very much and she especially loves math. Aliya is active in Girl Scouts.
Aliya's mom first noticed a couple of spots in early 2015 and she was officially diagnosed with Vitiligo in summer 2015.We consider Aliya our VITFriends Child Ambassador!
Aliya, please tell us about your Vitiligo...
"I have Vitiligo and in the winter you can't see my spots as much. In the summer you can see them a lot more. I have to wear a lot of sunblock so I do not burn my white spots. I'm happy I meet Vitfriends so I know there are more people like me."
Brandon R. Birch; Jefferson City, MO
White patches and a Bruised Heart?
"My personal testimony on how God can still use you despite of what others have to say about you!"
?Look at that cow! Look at that Dalmatian! He?s Ugly! Don?t touch me! Get away from me! He looks nasty! Look at those spots! Stop staring at him!? Learning how to live life with difficulties can be hard and challenging at times. But we cannot let our difficulties hold us down and put us down but make us stronger!
While in elementary school a thing happened to me that I thought would have never happen. My life changed tremendously. I was in the fourth grade a normal kid and a spot appeared on my eye. I didn?t quite know what the spot was then it begin to spread on different parts of my body. I felt very ugly and my self-esteem was very low. The spots that were there were called vitiligo. I was scared when this happened to me. I have never seen anyone with is skin disorder it was new to me. I continued to attend school but I was afraid of what people would say about me. I would cover up my body with long sleeves and pants all year around! I even thought about ending my own life because I hurt badly by the cruelty of others.
Attending school many of the students were very mean and cruel to me for being the way I was. I would cry every night wishing I was like everyone else again. I use to get called humiliating names, get laughed at by students that was once was my friends, and just treated unfairly for what have happened to me. Teachers would be concerned but just wouldn?t say much. There was times when I played on the playground by myself and cried because I had no friends. I would get stared at all the time by people in public. It wouldn?t be so much of what they said but how they stared at me. But now as the years go by I begin to get comfortable in my own skin. Not caring what people have to say about me because I am God?s creation. My mom would always comfort me when I felt down and alone! She has been here with me through this whole thing.
This is still a difficult thing to go through in life. Life hasn?t been easy for me! But we have to push pass how we feel and keep pressing towards the mark. My whole perspective on life changed. I realized that people that were once your friends will not be. I learned that we all are unique and wonderful in our own way. I also learned whatever the circumstances may be we have to be ourselves biggest motivator and encourager. Even with this skin disorder I HAVE DREAMS I MUST ACCOMPLISH. I am not going to let my past be greater than my future. The sky is no longer considered the limit in my book! I can go beyond the sky with my dreams.
Being afflicted with vitiligo I no longer consider it a cruse but a blessing from God. I realize that it?s okay to be different from others. Having vitiligo has boosted my confidence and gave others a sense of confidence for themselves. Many people would come up to me and say you?re an inspiration to me. It?s my constant prayer is that I have touched someone?s life and instilled in them a sense of hope. I learned to love myself now! Even though I still struggle with some insecurities, God is working with me to overcome them. Although my life has been full of struggles, the good thing is that all the good in my life has outweighed all the bad and the hurt.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I am the oldest of three siblings. I am a graduate of Northeast High School in Kansas City, Missouri and I am currently a freshman at Lincoln University of Missouri in Jefferson City. I serve as the freshman class president at Lincoln. I am pursuing a major in Criminal Justice and Political Science. I am the first in his family to attend college and aim to one day go off to law school and become a prosecuting attorney.
As you can music is a BIG part of me. Growing up in the church I realize God has given me gifts, the gift of vocal and instrumental music. I have been singing all my life and playing the piano for most of it too.
I have been recognized for his many accomplishments in the areas of academics, law, music, and community. He was recently awarded the President Barack Obama?s Education Award for outstanding academic performance. I was recently awarded a gold medal with the NAACP Act So competition in the category of Contemporary Vocal Music with my rendition of ?The Lord?s Prayer?. I am also a member of the renowned Kansas City Boys Choir.
I am very active on the campus of Lincoln University. I have engaged in many community service projects and extracurricular activities. I have made the dean?s list my first semester at Lincoln finishing with a 3.2 grade point average. I am active with student government, being a peer student advisor, singing with the Lincoln University Principals of Worship Gospel Choir and Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble. I am truly grateful for God?s faithfulness upon my life.
Janay Asia Watson; Indianapolis, IN
"Vitiligo is 90% Mental and 10% Physical- My Vitiligo Story."
Having vitiligo is like playing a sport
It?s 90% mental and 10% physical
Yes, I have light spots? spread over this ?canvas? that we call our ?body??
In which what lies within it is a temple
But the effects of it remain mental
Since seventh grade year, I?ve been apart of the small percentage of people that can relate
We?ve all experienced a glimpse of its pain,
But it?s up to us as to what we gain
If I only listened to the ones who had nothing better to do than to make fun,
Then I would stifle in my shame
But after discovering our Indianapolis community group filled with loving people that looked just like me
I realized that having vitiligo does not prevent me from fulfilling my destiny
So I looked up to them, they welcomed me with open arms
And from that moment on, I knew I was going to be okay.
I struggled for too long trying to act as if it did not exist
Although every time someone would look at my vitiligo and reject it
I?d go home and cry because I didn?t know why I wasn?t accepted
It has humbled me all while building my confidence
I feel as though i?m call to be an example for more young people struggling to keep their head above the water,
I want to inspire the one?s drowning in the midst of loneliness and fear
I want them to know that if no one else has told them this, that I am hear
Now I seize every opportunity that I can
Alfie John Ratcliff ~ UK
Alfie is a handsome 10 years old boy who has Vitiligo but who does not let Vitiligo get in his way. His mom says his idol is Michael Jackson. He is in year 5 in primary school. He loves to play football and supports Aston Villa in the English Premiership. He loves to play with lego and he makes brilliant space ships.
Alicia Roufs of New Prague, MN
My name is Alicia Roufs and I have had vitiligo since I was three months old. I have never known myself without vitiligo. I has shaped who I am, and how I am. I have learned throughout the years, that my beauty is only skin deep. What?s underneath my spotted exterior is what matters most to me and others. I?m not gonna lie and tell you everything was wonderful growing up. Having vitiligo at such a young age was very hard. Kids are very cruel and I was called every name you can imagine. It definitely made me a stronger more outspoken person. I wasn?t going to let a silly little skin disease rule my life. I learned to be the class clown and make jokes. I figured if they could laugh with me, it was stop them from laughing at me.
The doctors have linked my vitiligo to my mother developing hypothyroidism before she was pregnant with me. I guess auto immune diseases run in my family. My sister also has hypothyroidism, and I have diabetes on both sides. I have developed Graves Disease which is also an auto immune disease. It?s amazing to me how so much is linked together. I have never used make up or tried any treatment for my vitiligo. I have just used my self confidence to get me though it. I wouldn?t say I have given up hope for a cure, but I think I have come to the realization that trying to cure an auto immune disease isn?t probably going to happen in my lifetime.
I am proud that I can sit here and say I have vitiligo. I have no problem educating those around me and informing what I have. I have been truly blessed to have such a supportive and loving family to lean on during tough and unsure times. I have loved meeting fellow vitiligo people via FaceBook and offering advice and a shoulder to lean on. It has given me a much greater purpose. I know that God doesn?t make mistakes. He gave me this disease because he knew I could handle it and help others. I am glad he did. Because really, those who mind don?t matter, and those who matter don?t mind.
Cynphani Morris of Nashville, TN
Jaeden Rodriquez of Forney, TX
Jaeden?s first spot appeared when he was just 18 months old. He was diagnosed with Vitiligo in 2010. He is a strong boy who knows his Vitiligo is beautiful! He is a very positive person who brightens up any ones day with a smile! Jaeden enjoys school, baseball, and gaming!
Jaeden embraces his spots at 7 years old and has maintained a very positive outlook! Because Jaeden has had Vitiligo since he can remember, it is all he knows. Family and friends see his dimples, his bright personality, and his kind heart, not the color of his skin! Jaeden has seen Dermatologists and has stated he does not want to go through light treatments. Jaedens Vitiligo is not a problem that we seek to find a solution for, Jaedens Vitiligo is BEAUTIFUL! Each day I see a smile on my sons face, I thank God for sending me a strong willed little man who embraces life.
Thank you for considering my son for the Vit STAR! I appreciate the opportunity and the chance for other children who have Vitiligo to see him and know they are not alone!
VITFriends is delighted to showcase our son of Decemeber, our VIT Star - Jaeden
Isaiah 9:6...."For unto us a child is born - unto us a son is given."
Malaysia Chappell - Indianapolis, IN
My Vitiligo started when I was eight years old, I was terrified and worried because I didn't know what was happening. I am now 16 years old, I am very proud of my Vitiligo and over the years taught myself that I am beautiful and I have grown a lot more confident of myself. It has truly made me into the person I am today and has changed my life.
Growing up was hard because of the laughs, stares and rudeness but as I got older I just realized that no one should ever have the power to judge you off of something so little. I no longer let the way I look stop me from doing anything. I live a normal life just like anyone else; and I am not ashamed or concerned with my condition. "I love the skin I'm in." I am proud to say that I LOVE MY VITILIGO and I love my Vitiligo family.
Jadhira Isabel Gonzalez of Lawton, OK
Is 29 years old and has had vitiligo for 18 years. Jadhira said..."I've tried all treatments even traveled to see many specialist and nothing. I've always accepted my vitiligo, thanks to my community, friends and family who never treated me any different from them."
Jadhira states that she is "happily married to my best friend and high school sweet heart and they have 2 beautiful children Jorge jr.11 and Joys O'Neal 8."
Finally, Jadhira declares that "I love myself and I proudly wear my vitiligo with a smile"
Cheri Lindsay - Tiffin, OH
I was diagnosed with vitiligo when I was fifteen years old, but it did not start to spread until my sophomore year of college. My vitiligo is hereditary (my father has it as well) and I truly believe that is what has made it so easy for me to accept and embrace it. My father helped me to adopt a personality that is strong willed, and confident that does not revolve around vanity.
In 2010 I started a you-tube channel simply expressing my thoughts on vitiligo and it was aimed at people with vitiligo who felt like they were alone. I ended up reaching so many people with my videos, and helping people with all types of skin ailments to learn to accept themselves.
Dawn Rose of Baltimore, MD
This is Dawn Rose and this is what she told us....
"At the age of 10 I got a small white spot on my knee I am now 27. I didn't know just how big of deal this little spot would be because as it grew and spread, I grew as a person! I found my inner beauty and learned to love myself inside and out. There has been hard days where I had to shake off the negativity and move along. Let me tell you, it was so worth it . Vitiligo doesn't define you . It doesn't hurt you unless you allow it to. Embrace it, ...be you. Know that you are beautiful and that if you don't let your spots be
something negative neither will those around you. You are unique. You can and will be different. Who wants to be like everyone else anyway ? Your special! I feel special do you?"
Amanda Wells - from Texas
My name is Amanda and I am from of the great state of Texas. I am currently a freshman in college - Undeclared major, and an aspiring actress. I love singing, dancing and absolutely adore live theatre. That's where my heart is set! I would love to act on Broadway someday or do a traveling show all over the world. I am 20 years old and I have had vitiligo for 2 years now. My physician said that it was probably caused by stress. I lost my brother 2 years ago as well. One day I hope to be a world known Spokeswoman/Model for people with Vitiligo. I wish to spread awareness about vitiligo. Empower and encourage people with vitiligo. I love my vitiligo, I feel that it makes me unique and it helps me stand out amongst a sea of people who just want to fit in. I haven't always embraced my vitiligo and some days it's still a struggle to fully embrace my difference, but I love me and I wouldn't change one thing about me! Love yourself or no one else will. That's one of the biggest lessons I've learned since having my Vitiligo. I love
Claiming It?.and Owning It?.! Not everyone can do that. Something like this requires a person to be courageous.
Today Amanda shines light a bright in this cover girl commercial
Cynthia Harris from Atlanta, GA
:Cynthia Harris is a single parent and a Nurse, who is originally from Columbus, Ga, but she moved to the Atlanta metro area about 5 years ago.
Cynthia was first diagnosed with Vitiligo at age 6. She tell us that she use to worry about what people thought of her and often felt really self conscious and ashamed about her vitiligo. This is what she said about her parents, her main support system...."My parents always told me that I was beautiful and that God doesn't make mistakes."
Cynthia tells that she now embraces my vitiligo and loves the skin that she's in. She went on to tell us that...."I am loving the confident woman I have become".
Brittany LaRue, RN - Bowling Green, KY
Brittany LaRue is from Kentucky. She first developed Vitiligo when she was 18 years old. Brittany said?.. ?It took a very long time to accept my Vitiligo and be comfortable in my skin, 11 years to be exact.?
Brittany stated that she has done so much research in 11 years, and she has tried to find conferences that she could attend. she just wanted to be around more people like herself, because she knew they understood what she was going through.
Here is some of what Brittany had to say?.. ?God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers. We are very strong, unique individuals, and not many could walk a day in our shoes. I have a plethora of family and friends who support me, and without them I wouldn?t have gotten this far. I love my two colors and I would love to help others embrace their Vitiligo as well as help spread awareness.?
Nicole Wylie - Tucker, GA
My name is Nicole Wylie and I am a wife of 7 years to Brandon Wylie and a stay at home mom to three amazing girls ages 5, 3, and 1. I am originally from New Jersey, but today I reside in Georgia.
My vitiligo first appeared at the age of 5. I have been told that I wear my Vitiligo like an "accessory,"which by the way I find very funny.
I'm very passionate about girls loving the skin they are in and being confident individuals....even with Vitiligo!
Jolene Graham Dyer -Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies
Jolene Graham Dyer is married and hails from the beautiful island of Jamaica, West Indies. Jolene says..."I think I am a normal girl, working and making jewelry." Jolene was recently featured in a Free Summer Magazine called Pompasette on the island of Barbados.
A statement in Pompasette reads.... "We deem it our responsibility to shine some light on extremely beautiful women who would not have been highlighted by traditional standards and media. We want to use our voice to empower."
Jolene also told our Vice President, Patricia Rossy that seeing that she has vitiligo, this was quiet a different experience for me even to be asked to be in a magazine; she said...." this was outside my sphere but what is life without some excitement sometimes."