24.06.2014 | World Vitiligo Day 2014 kicks off in Chandigarh

World Vitiligo Day 2014 promises to be the biggest yet, with a vast array of awareness and support events spanning the globe. Sponsored by the New York based Vitiligo Research Foundation, this years festivities will be held in Chandigarh, India.

World Vitiligo Day was inaugurated in 2011 as a grassroots advocacy project to bring the plight of the approximately 100 million sufferers worldwide into the spotlight. As perhaps the world most famous vitiligan, the name of Michael Jackson has always been synonymous with vitiligo and the anniversary of his tragic and untimely death was chosen as World Vitiligo Day in honor of his own personal yet very public battle with the disease.

2014 is proving to be an incredible year of growth for the movement, which started as a few volunteers handing out fliers in the streets and a small number of dedicated doctors offering free skin checks and advice on dealing with the condition. Now hundreds of thousands are getting behind the cause. A number of celebrities like Jon Hamm, Scott Jorgenson, Holly Marie Combs and Yvette Fielding have been more vocal about their own experiences in living with vitiligo.

In 2014 World Vitiligo Day is coming of age as a truly global event, with coordinated activities on all continents and feature by the mainstream mass media in dozens of countries. Celebrations will span the entire week, to accommodate multiple presentations, speeches and other events aimed at the patients and healthcare community.

Planned by the famous Le Corbusier in the northern part of India, Chandigarh will host TV and movie shows, theater events, lectures, free consultations, and a forty rickshaw parade through the magnificent city. Right across the United States dozens of vitiligo support groups and activists will be holding support and awareness walks, lectures and social events. In Detroit, the most known vitiligo spokesperson Lee Thomas will be hosting a lunch fundraiser with last years’ World Vitiligo Day host, the Southeast Michigan Vitiligo Support Group. Moscow will play host to teams of volunteers handing out flyers and smiles and specialists at the new vitiligo clinic, in collaboration with Moscow Beauty Institute, city central prefecture Arbat and the Russian Society of Dermatovenereologists. All over Africa Vitiligo Support groups will be taking to the streets to spread awareness, culminating in a Vitiligo Fashion show in Nigeria hosted by Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF.) Collaborators from Kazakhstan are driving a massive awareness and treatment campaign across all Central Asia region, heavily affected by vitiligo.

Vitiligo is being highlighted in the arts more and more and garnering a strong following with the work of photographer Mina Sarenac, rap artist Big Krizz Kaliko and Russian singer/song writer Angela Markova (music), and artist Stephanie Corne, whose facemotions series is to be featured at the contemporary art Vienna Fair this fall.

Between one and two percent of the World's population are faced with the day to day stigma of living with vitiligo, often in societies where it is looked upon as being contagious, the result of witchcraft or leprosy. With public demonstrations, walkathons, and handouts, support groups from the Australia, Brazil, China, Croatia, Georgia, Italy, Ethiopia, France, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia, Uganda, U.K., and many more are hoping to change this and make life better for millions.

A petition to the United Nations calling for action and asking that June 25th be officially observed as World Vitiligo Day is only a few signatures away from its 500,000 target. With the recent success at the top American TV show of stunning model and vitiligan Chantelle (Winnie Harlow), more and more people are taking up the call for awareness and support.

This June 25, the VR Foundation, the World Vitiligo Day initiative and support groups in over 50 countries are calling for awareness, calling for togetherness and taking charge of making a social change for the better.

About the Vitiligo Research Foundation:

The VR Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, disease-specific foundation. As the nation's only organization addressing every phase of vitiligo treatment development, the VRF continuously works with a diverse group of support organizations and individuals to achieve significant measurable and fast results. When it comes to finding a cure for vitiligo, the VRF firmly expects to make a real difference in our lifetime.

About Vitiligo: (pronounced vit-ill-EYE-go) is a very complex and generally unpredictable skin disease. It is characterized by a sudden loss of melanin in the skin, which turns it milky white in irregular patches and expands over the lifetime. Complete knowledge of its etiology has been elusive for decades of intense research. The current thought is that vitiligo represents a group of different disorders with a similar outcome: the appearance of white patches on the skin. Vitiligo is a non-lethal and it does not cause any organic harm, but it has a devastating effect on social life of the affected person and their family. The reported prevalence of vitiligo is between 0.5% to 2% of the world population on the average, but local numbers may vary greatly, depending on the region and age group. The total number of people suffering from vitiligo is estimated at around 65-95 million people worldwide. However, the actual number may be much higher because vitiligo is a very underreported disease.

Yan Valle
CEO, Vitiligo Research Foundation
1, Penn Plaza #6205, New York, NY


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Why Is It Important

There are a lot of people who don't want you to stand up for your rights and demand a cure. They say vitiligo is not life threatening and not contagious, and you must embrace a life of a pariah, hiding yourself from sunlight and from the society.

Vitiligo is an under-researched disease resulting in milky white skin patches on the skin. The breadth and complexity of the disease require international collaboration in therapy development. The severity of the disease calls for national healthcare support.

So, speak up for your condition and your rights. Sign the letter to tell the UN Secretary-General that you want recognition and support. It would be appreciated if you could give every member of your family or group an opportunity for signing.

Signatures count

We have collected 503195 signatures of the target 500000 (100.64%). Now let’s get 1 million signatures!


Firmly committed to curing Vitiligo, the VR Foundation is a non-profit organization funding and fast-tracking medical research globally. We challenge the disease of vitiligo with educational and medicinal enlightenment. We care; we educate; we advance knowledge. We are the VR Foundation.

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