Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition that causes patches of the skin to lose their pigment, turning them white. The condition, which affects around 1 to 3 percent of people is largely harmless physically, though it can make people more sensitive to the sun.
But unsurprisingly, the condition can cause a lot of stress for those with it. In a world that places such importance on beauty, looking different can result in bullying and upset for those with the condition. This is something that 64-year-old Brazilian grandfather João Stanganelli Junior knows all too well.
He’s been living with the condition since it appeared in this 30s, and it’s become gradually more noticeable as he’s aged.
Having recently retired due to unrelated health issues, the grandfather needed a hobby to keep himself active and engaged. According to Brightside, he and his wife took up crocheting, which João picked up pretty quickly.
João said that crocheting quickly became addicting and that when you get your fingers into the rhythm, it’s hard to stop.
João’s first project was a doll for his granddaughter, and to make sure it was something she would remember him by, he added a few vitiligo patches to the doll. That’s when João got the idea to make more inclusive dolls.
João started making more dolls for children with disabilities, including a doll in a wheelchair and dolls with vitiligo. He created the dolls to help children feel “normal” and values, no matter their condition.
“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in people’s characters,” João said.
Unsurprisingly, people love João’s work.
“Have a son with vitiligo and put up with a lot of mean comments throughout his childhood,” one user wrote. “This is very sweet of you to do for these kids!”
While another commenter added: “My daughter has this. Cannot wait to show her in the morning. Would love her to know of others with same condition.”