10/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/17/2021 11:08
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) re-introduced legislation this week to recognize Oct. 17th as "National Vitiligo Awareness Day." The resolution honors courageous children and adults, who live with the autoimmune condition and often must overcome harassment and bullying.
Vitiligo is a long-term, chronic medical condition that results in loss of pigmentation in patches on the skin, hair, eyes, and inside of the mouth. In the United States, around two to five million people are affected by vitiligo. Approximately half of the cases were diagnosed during childhood, thus requiring lifetime treatment.
"With suicide rates amongst bullied children found to be two to nine times higher for children living with this condition, a vitiligo diagnosis can have life-threatening consequences," said Rep. Johnson. "By supporting this resolution, we will name October 17th as National Vitiligo Awareness Day. This resolution will show our support for the millions of men, women, and children suffering from vitiligo and highlight the importance of providing comprehensive medical and mental health support to Americans with chronic conditions."
The American Academy of Dermatology refers to vitiligo as a life-altering disorder that can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. This is especially prevalent when children are diagnosed. Children with vitiligo are have been found to be disproportionately bullied. They have a harder time making friends and are more likely to perform poorly at school.
"As a mother and educator this resolution not only will be another tool for planting seeds of hope but will positively impact children living with vitiligo, said Vitiligo Bond CEO Natasha Pierre McCarthy. "Educators and parents nationally can use this day to talk about the importance of not bullying and respecting people's differences. Awareness is the key," "With the right support and nurturing a child with vitiligo can thrive. But without that support vitiligo can damage the human spirit."