About Vitiligo


It all started with a spot. A spot with a story. A spot that appeared on my foot. When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with Vitiligo. At the time, it was difficult to diagnose my disease and my parents took me to several clinics and dermatologists to identify what exactly I had. Many dermatologists said it was not treatable and there was no cure for my condition. I would have to go through treatment to manage the further spread of the disease, but there was no definite answer as to whether I would completely be cured or not.

At such a young age, I did not really understand what that meant and it affected my parents more than it affected me. They tried every possible way to find me treatment, from traveling to India and trying homeopathy to driving to the clinic at 5:30 in the morning several days a week to take me to light treatments. As I grew older, I started to notice my Vitiligo more and it started to affect me emotionally.

When I was in middle school, people called me names and said I looked like a “cow” or resembled “Micheal Jackson”. I started to feel like an outsider. Why was I different? Why me? I didn’t like doing my treatment anymore either since the UV exposure would burn my skin or would make me impatient after standing in front of the treatment panel with nothing else to do except focus my attention on my Vitiligo, making me think more about why I was there and whether there was really any point in me continuing treatment if I didn’t know what the future had in store for me and my Vitiligo.

In 8th grade, I decided I wanted to find a cure for Vitiligo. I talked to a dermatologist named Dr. Amit Pandya, who is a current GVF board member. We started a support group in the DFW metroplex. Over the years, we have held walkathons to raise awareness and money for research. My confidence in my own skin grew with support from my family and friends and as I became more involved in the community to raise awareness about this rare disease. There is still no cure for Vitiligo, but several advancements are being made. I do not know how my skin will change tomorrow and if I will wake up and see a new spot when I look in the mirror, but what I do know is that no matter what happens, I will have a great support system there for me.

As I started college, I realized I wanted to do something bigger for Vitiligo. I decided to hold a Vitiligo gala for the purpose of raising more awareness within the community and as a way to connect patients, physicians, students, and community members in a larger public health effort while simultaneously raising money for Vitiligo research. We managed to raise over $5,000 for Global Vitiligo Foundation. With my confidence comes another side that wishes I could have a convenient treatment that might repigment my skin. College became a struggle since the stress of studying as a pre-medical student started to take a toll on my skin and I can notice the gradual spread of my Vitiligo. I started a photo series to raise awareness about the impact of skin conditions on mental health and to portray the beauty of Vitiligo in an artistic light.

Ultimately, Vitiligo has a major impact on my mental health and has shaped the person I am today. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Rick Guidotti at the 2018 World Vitiligo Conference and loved his message of true beauty through Positive Exposure. I would like to join the movement to bring equality and appreciation for diversity as a PEARLS ambassador. I want to help change how we see and see how we change!

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