Vitiligo is a condition that affects around 1-3% of the world’s population. It causes the discoloration of the skin in patches. These patches lose their pigment, turning them white. It is largely harmless, although it can make these patches less resistant to the sun. So, load up on sun cream!
However, as with many visible conditions, life can be hard for those suffering. At school age, many kids suffering from vitiligo are bullied because they look different. Even later in life, people are discriminated against because they have this condition, and it can have ill effects on self-esteem due to generic beauty standards.
João Stanganelli Junior is a 64-year-old Brazilian grandfather who has been living with the condition since it appeared in his 30s. For nearly half his life he dealt with the discrimination and funny looks, but now he is helping others with the rare condition.
João took up crocheting when he retired and was a natural. The first doll he made was for his granddaughter, as something to remember him by. So, without really thinking, he added his vitiligo patches to the doll of himself. That’s when he realised what he should be doing.
Now, he creates loads of dolls, all with vitiligo crocheted on, to tell children with his condition that they are valued, accepted, and represented. Most of these kids will have never seen someone who looks like them in any toy, so João is making magical moments.
Helping Kids With Vitiligo And Other Disabilities
He since moved on to crocheting kids with other disabilities, too. He has crocheted wheelchair-bound dolls and dolls with alopecia, as well as his vitiligo dolls.
“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in people’s characters,” João said.
Let us know what you think of his inspiring actions in the comments, and share with your family and friends.