For most people living with unusual white patches on their skin, a medical condition known as Vitiligo, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are prominent characteristics.
Though the condition is not contagious the stigma from society has created the false impression that it is deadly and endemic.
This continuous stigmatization of people living with the skin-deep condition has shattered the lives of many and will perhaps continue to do so unless we recognise that we all have a role to play to avert these eventualities.
The story of Lawrencia Enam Honya, a nurse in the Volta Region is however different; hers is an epitome of motivation; a breakaway from the norm.
Lawrencia was discovered by TV3’s Wendy Laryea some 5 years ago. She narrated her ordeal of having noticed a white patch of skin at age 12 and since then her life took a dramatic turn.
At first glance her mother said it was a birth mark until it spread to other parts of her body. They traveled around the world seeking a cure but to no avail.
After 3 failed suicide attempts and continuous to face ostracism in society, she said to herself, NO MORE!
Today, Enam Honya has learned to look past her skin and accept to love herself as she is.
She was opportune to meet a Vitiligo campaigner, Love Violet, who introduced her to the Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF Ghana).
Armed with this fine opportunity and looking back at her rough teenage stage, she has tasked herself to educate people about Vitiligo to help eradicate the stigma which comes with it.
Being a nurse is a hurdle on its own but her passion to change the status quo has driven her into modeling as well. Indeed, she’s proven that Vitiligo is nothing to stop one from achieving their dreams.
Admittedly, it is not easy living with the condition, especially when society makes a conscious effort to shun patients and shove them into a box. But there’s some good news.
Enam has gone all out arming herself with passion permeating the world of fashion, showbiz and nursing to ensure other people in Ghana and beyond don’t face the stigma of society.
She has contributed her quota with support from others so that the psychological and emotional trauma that would push Vitiligo patients to the edge of death are overcome.
The famous pop musician Michael Jackson had Vitiligo, yet he wasn’t deterred from pursuing his goals and aspirations.
Similarly, the Emmy – award winning broadcaster Lee Thomas despite his Vitiligo lives his dreams. Thomas used his experience to author a memoir titled “Turning White” to educate and inspire people with Vitiligo.
As we mark World Vitiligo Day, join the wind of change to educate and eradicate the stigma associated with Vitiligo. A single act of handshake, a hug or even a complement to these would make a difference.
Go out there and be the difference!
By Ferdinard Tiekon|3news.com|Ghana