A few weeks ago my story living with the skin condition Vitiligo came to light and the response worldwide was overwhelming within a few hours of publishing in the newspapers and online - I never expected it. The recent death and turbulent life of Michael Jackson, who once said that he had Vitiligo, made this story even more publicized due to the fact that I have changed from having dark skin to now being completely white, proving that it is indeed possible.
I am still dealing with the snowball effect of the past few weeks. Overwhelming does not begin to describe the path that I have now been put on, in terms of phone calls, interviews and messages of support (but not always) which have been coming from every corner of the globe. For me, this was unexpected. I have lived with this condition since the age of five, I am now 23 years old. This is my version of "normal". This is my every day.
I have realized that to others, however, this is more than unusual, and for some, it could be a means of support. Following my most recent interview on the NBC's Today Show, as well as the Inside Edition on CBS, the amount of emails and messages I have received from other sufferers of Vitiligo, whether to offer support or to ask various questions about coping with the condition, has pushed me to start this blog as a way of responding to you and hopefully connecting you to each other.
Growing up, I had no one within my age group who had Vitiligo to help me with my condition. It was all on my parents to improvise and I think they have done a fantastic job, considering what they had to work with. They have given me, throughout my life, the confidence to now go ahead and do what it takes to bring whatever awareness I can by sharing my story. I hope this blog can help you, and please believe that the entire experience has been very cathartic for me in raising some past demons and dealing with them, even if it is years down the line.
I don't have all the answers. I'm not sure I have any of the answers. The most I can do is share my own experiences and leave it for you to discuss. Each new blog will share a story, a situation or a lesson that I went through during my time with Vitiligo. If any one of these stories helps someone in any way, whether you have Vitiligo or not, then I believe I have achieved something.
My name is Darcel de Vlugt. I am a Trinidadian woman of mixed heritage who was born with dark skin. My skin is now completely white due to the skin pigmentation disorder known as Vitiligo.
Welcome to my world...