From: The Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Support National Vitiligo Awareness Day
Cosponsor the Resolution to designate Oct. 17, 2017 as National Vitiligo Awareness Day
Endorsed by: American Vitiligo Research Foundation, Vitiligo Bond
Please join me in
designating and celebrating October 17, 2017 as “National Vitiligo Awareness Day.” October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so I can think of no better time for our country to come together and show support for these children and adults facing harassment
because of their condition.
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. Current research suggests that vitiligo is caused by an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its
own melanocytes- the cells that determine our body color. About 50 million people worldwide are diagnosed with vitiligo. In the United States, around 2 to 5 million
individuals are affected by this disorder. Approximately half of the cases were diagnosed during childhood thus requiring lifetime treatment and care.
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. A study
in Pediatric Dermatology noted that a vitiligo diagnosis in children “was associated with self-consciousness, difficulty with friendships and schoolwork, and teasing and bullying.” With suicide rates
amongst bullied children found to be 2 to 9 times higher, a vitiligo diagnosis can have life-threatening consequences.
We have the power to help improve the lives of the children diagnosed with vitiligo so they can live longer and happier lives. Studies show that when social support is provided by families, peers, charities, support groups, and teachers, children with vitiligo
greatly see an improvement in their quality of life. By supporting this resolution, we can (1) name October 17, 2017 as National Vitiligo Awareness Day and (2) highlight the importance of providing support for
individuals diagnosed with vitiligo to improve their quality of life.
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Member of Congress