Diversity as defined by the University of Oregon states that “The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each person is unique.” Vitiligo is what makes our children different and we as parents feel the need to protect our children; this is what we do.
What we all have in common are very strong and unique children. They have learned to be more tolerant and to understand what it is to be different. We live in a world where there are many diverse things about people and we should all try to be more accepting of these differences.
As a mother of a daughter with Vitiligo I still find it very difficult not to react to the stares, unkind words and just plain ignorance of others; how does an adult do this to another person; let alone a child. It does hurt to see what your child has to contend with on a daily basis and you just want to protect them from the ignorance of others.
I see from the website that we all have found ourselves in situations that make us angry; my daughter tells me to get over it; she has. She says; “If I can ignore these people and look past the stares and go on with my life you should too!” This makes me so proud of my daughter; to see her inner strength and know that she has accepted who she is and what she has. From the time she was a very little girl, her “special spots” were just that very special because no one else had them and as she grew the spots became shapes and became animal faces, states and she even had a violin on her back. It is amazing how a young person can look past their outside and shine from within.
Our children all have dreams and goals and many have such amazing confidence that allows them to make good friends, excel in school and belong to clubs and sport teams; we as their parents just have to be there for them and to love them unconditionally. Vitiligo is something they have and does not define them as a person. I know I am so proud of my girl!
I have had the opportunity to meet many parents and children and this has been so special to me as we learn from others that we all share so many of the same experiences and that there is always someone to talk to. From day one Stella has been my pillar and I am sure everyone feels the same. She is my idol and I love her and appreciate the amount of time and energy she puts into our children. Stella is a Godsend!
I hope that we will see many of you at the convention this July as we are trying our best to get to Gainesville this year. Also, remember “Pennies from Heaven” is just one way we can make a difference towards finding a cure.
My last thought is that we as parents need to remember that we too can be strong and look past the ignorance of others and show our children that we truly care and respect how they choose to live their lives. We will always be there to help them through life and some journeys are just filled with more challenges.
Rosemary, Gabby’s Mother
Gabby Diversity is Awesome!!
I know I am awesome. Vitiligo changed the color of my skin but it has not changed the person that I am. I have not and will not allow Vitiligo to stop me form doing anything; we all need to stand tall and walk proudly.
God chose us to be different and unique; this is how things were meant to be and we don’t always know why this is. I have had Vitiligo for most of my life; I was about two when I was diagnosed. While everyone tells me I am lucky that Vitiligo will not kill me, I still wonder if all the sunburns will affect my health in the future.
From the website you can see how Vitiligo has affected each of us differently. We have all learned first hand that everyone is not nice and some people are just plain mean. We have to be strong and look in the mirror and see the beauty that we all have within.
We all have parents that want to protect us and sometimes it gets really hard to tell my mom that I am o.k. with my Vitiligo and she needs to ignore the ignorant people who choose to stare, glare and make rude comments. It is definitely not my problem; it is theirs.
There are so many good things that Vitiligo has brought to my life. I have made new friends that understand what it is to live with Vitiligo and I have come to realize that I have another family, my Vitiligo family. They all mean so much to me and I hope that I can be part of the next AVRF convention in Florida to share more special times with my extended family. The head of our extended family and someone who will forever mean the world to us is Stella; she is our foundation, our rock.
Stella took me under her wing and she never let go. She shows all the Vitiligo children just how special they are and that they can do anything. She spends all her time trying to raise money to find a cure for Vitiligo and make her children’s wishes come true. It is all the people of AVRF and all the researchers and doctors who work towards finding a cure and to whom we are all so thankful.
I cannot change what I have but I can be the best me possible!!