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Shayne Taylor is 12 years old, and has the skin disease vitiligo. It covers around 75 per cent of her body.
Shayne Taylor is 12 years old and has the skin disease Vitiligo. She was diagnosed at age five, and it now covers around 75 per cent of her body.
Shayne Taylor is 12 years-old, and has the skin disease vitiligo. Through Instagram, she's raising awareness about the disease, and spreading the message of self-love, and loving others. "I wanted to make people more open and happy about themselves — you don’t have to hide if you look different," she said.
When Shayne Taylor was five years old, a spot about the size of a quarter appeared on her stomach.
“(My mom) thought it was like dirt at first, so she scrubbed and scrubbed and then it started to turn red,” she said.
They went to a doctor, which was “ actually quite a long road trying to get the diagnosis,” says Shayne’s mom, Denise.
“They thought it was a fungal infection of some sort, so they gave us cream and pills,” she said. “Probably about six months after that, we walked into the dermatologist’s office and he was like, ‘Yeah, it’s vitiligo.’ ”
Even though they had a diagnosis, Denise said they still didn’t have very much information about vitiligo. A lot of what they’ve learned has been in the past two years.
“We only know as much as we do now because we went to the (United) States to find out what all this is, because they have groups and research centres,” she said.
Shayne is now 12 years old, and vitiligo covers about 75 per cent of her body.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the pigment cells in the skin, causing a loss of pigmentation.
Saskatoon dermatologist Dr. Nicole Hawkins said t he condition affects one to two per cent of people worldwide, no matter their skin type or racial background. It can occur at any stage of life, and the most common type usually begins on the hands or the face.
A variety of topical steroids and topical calcium neuron inhibitors can be used, but Hawkins said the most important part is sun protection, as the skin with pigment loss can burn easily.
People’s perception of vitiligo often includes a lot of questions, mostly from adults, who want to know “what’s wrong with (Shayne’s) skin,” Denise said.
“It’s not contagious, that’s the No. 1 — we’ve had people leave a swimming pool when we got in,” she said. “Lots of people ask, ‘Does it hurt, does it itch?’ No, it’s just like normal skin, just a different colour.”
Last year, Shayne was able to go to a World Vitiligo Day conference in Massachusetts, thanks to a pen pal. After finding a vitiligo pride group on Facebook, Shayne was able to become part of a children’s pen pal group, and her pen pal found a donor to fund the trip for a few kids to go to the World Vitiligo Day conference.
At the conference, Shayne said she found it “surprising how many people have vitiligo.” She said she thought there would be 50 to 60 people at the conference, but about 400 people of all ages showed up.
This year, Shayne will be one of two Canadians attending the World Vitiligo Day conference in Texas, after fundraising for the expenses.
“It feels nice, but I feel more people should come, too. We tried to make a Saskatoon support group to get more people to come, which is harder than we thought,” she said.
Shayne also began an Instagram page to raise awareness about vitiligo. With it, she wants to bring the message to #lovetheskinyouarein, wanting people to love themselves and others, no matter what they look like.
“I wanted to make people more open and happy about themselves — you don’t have to hide if you look different.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019