A community, especially when it’s a minority, cannot thrive unless every individual’s contribution is recognized. We understood this fact and started this initiative to make sure that the entire community gets to know vitiligo fighters who are doing their bit and contributing to the vitiligo awareness at large.
Among these vitiligo crusaders is Maika Celi, a 40-year-old Human Resource Professional from Piracicaba, Brazil. She runs a Facebook Page, Vitiligo – “Meu Lugar ao Sol” (Vitiligo – My Place in the Sun) for Portuguese-speaking vitiligo fighters. With this initiative, she has been helping youngsters accept their vitiligo and love themselves.
Maika was 25 years old when she noticed her first white patch. As a teenager, she struggled to accept herself. ‘Why me?’ was the persistent question she used to ask herself.
She faced bullying at work. At times, when people lost a professional argument, they hit her with a personal remark on her skin. A change in the mindset helped her come out from the pits of negativity. Maika shares some bits from her long vitiligo journey. “I needed to feel good about myself so that people do not have the power to judge me for my appearance or show their prejudice against vitiligo. I started a project on the acceptance of vitiligo (“Vitiligo – My Place in the Sun”) to help other accept vitiligo. The positive feedback fills me with joy and pride.”
Maika has been drawing her inspiration from movies and books with motivational themes and feels proud of her vitiligo journey today. We all know that there has been a surge in the number of people who turn down treatments or creams to change their skin. The 40-year-old Human Resource professional finds that relatable. “For 13 years, I looked for treatments, which, I must say, has been nothing but frustrating. Though it took me a long time to do so, I have accepted myself now, and I do not want to seek any treatment to cure it,” she shares.
Maika feels that the lack of understanding about the chronic skin disorder often gives birth to common misconceptions surrounding vitiligo. She feels self-acceptance is the best tool to crusade vitiligo. She explains, “I have observed that whenever I complain about my skin, people come to me with bad comments. But, when I own my spots, people come to me to compliment me for my acceptance for vitiligo.”
We do agree with Maika. After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about the mindset and being open to new life experiences. We wish Maika Celi all the best for future.