João Stanganelli Junior, a 64-year-old Brazilian grandfather, and his wife Marilena took up crocheting dolls with vitiligo patches for children suffering from the same condition. João showed signs of vitiligo when he was about 38 years of age.

Vitiligo is a disease of the skin. When the body’s immune system destroys melanocytes, this condition occurs — melanin, which is a pigment found in the skin, eyes, hair, nasal cavity, and inner ear. Vitiligo is harmless physically. 

Image credits: joaostanganelli

There are no known cures to prevent it, yet some patches may go away on their own. It is advisable to protect your skin from the sun and artificial sources of UV light.

Image credits: joaostanganelli

João life radically changed due to a heart problem. Semi-retired from the gastronomy industry, he decided to take up crocheting to keep his mind active, healthy, and busy. It was difficult at first, but he soon got the hang of it. Even with the callouses on his fingers, he became addicted to crocheting.

Image credits: joaostanganelli

João told Bored Panda that his back and fingers hurt at first but not anymore. Even though he spends 90% of his time making the dolls of which he has many orders, he still keeps up with his old work with food.

Image credits: joaostanganelli

João’s first doll was with vitiligo patches was for his granddaughter as a reminder of him. From there, it expanded to make children with the same condition feel normal, self-confident, and happy.

Image credits: joaostanganelli

Inspired by the joy and the self-esteem his dolls bought the children, he started making more inclusive dolls, even dolls in wheelchairs. People fell in love with them, which made his work so much more rewarding. 

Image credits: joaostanganelli

Using Facebook and Instagram to display his dolls. João is helping to expose the differences and fight the social stigma that ignorance promotes, thus improving the self-esteem of the children who live with vitiligo. Bravo João!

During an interview, João message was: “The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in people’s characters.”

Image credits: joaostanganelli

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