What is Vitiligo?
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its characteristic color. Vitiligo is caused by a loss of pigment in the skin, due to destruction of pigment-forming cells known as melanocytes. Although vitiligo affects all races equally, it is more noticeable in dark-skinned people. "Vitiligo is a white patch that effects the soul" ~ Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi
3 Tier Strategy:
Faces of Vitiligo: To provide support and collaboration with various support groups through encouragement and information.
Voices of Vitiligo: To provide community awareness and education through advocacy, networking, fundraising, and social engagement.
Science of Vitiligo: To work with clinicians and researchers to promote scientific advancement in finding better treatment and a cure for vitiligo.
Lee Thomas Jr. - Founder
Experience Vitiligo Strong.com
How did V-Strong get its start? Lee Thomas of Fox 2 News Detroit started it all... it began with a phone call from a young man suffering from vitiligo. Before the book "Turning White" and all of the attention, Lee was working on the air everyday with make-up on his face but not on his hands. It was on purpose, people with vitiligo know what's up and others would write in and ask. Lee would then answer them if their efforts were sincere. The truth is most people didn't even notice. One day a viewer called to ask me if Lee would speak to her son. He was suffering from vitiligo and she wanted Lee to talk to him and hopefully inspire confidence. Once Lee spoke to the young man he realized he was strong and headed in the right direction. As the conversation ended the young man said something that changed Lee's life. "Would you show your face without make up". Lee asked "why" and then he said, "If you show people what you look like then maybe they will treat me differently". The answer became easy!
From that conversation, Lee told his story on the newscast. The 3 minute news story eventually became the book, and along with Dr. Henry Lim of Henry Ford Hospital a support group (V-Strong) and a mission that we continue today. V-Strong is here for support, awareness, fundraising and collaboration.