Elderly man crochets dolls with vitiligo to comfort kids sharing the same condition
Seeing dolls with the same condition gives comfort to the kids and makes them feel represented.
Caryl Jane Espiritu

The condition that is known as Vitiligo results in patches of the skin losing their pigment.

With time, the discolored spots typically enlarge. Any portion of the body’s skin might be impacted by the illness and the tongue and hair can both be impacted by it.

Melanin often controls the hue of skin and hair and melanin-producing cells die or stop working, which then causes vitiligo. All skin tones are affected by vitiligo, however, those with dark skin may notice it more.

One grandpa from Brazil has Vitiligo. And while coping with it is something an adult like him can handle, he was thinking about the kids who also have the same skin condition.

As it turned out, this grandpa knows how to crochet and his expertise is making dolls. He realized he can do something for kids with Vitiligo thru his skill in crocheting.

He decided to crochet dolls with a skin tone that is the same as that of a person with Vitiligo. And his creations are getting various positive reviews online.

64-year-old João Stanganelli Junior has had Vitiligo for nearly half his life.

Vitiligo is not infectious, and neither is it life-threatening. However, it could cause stress or make you feel self-conscious. Young vitiligo patients who believe they have a health problem because of their appearance worry him the most.

Now that Stanganelli is semi-retired, he has more time these days to crochet dolls to help children feel better about their appearance. He would sit with his wife and crochet beautiful dolls with patches in their spare time.

The senior citizen was uncomfortable at first, but as time went by, he became accustomed to crocheting.

João shares that crocheting can be very addictive, even more so because he is doing it for a good cause.

“At first, my fingers and back hurt a lot, today no more,” said the elderly man. “I’m not yet retired, I still keep up my old work with food, but much less intensely. At the moment, I spend 90% of my time with dolls. I have many orders.”

The first doll he made was for his granddaughter, Isabella. He made it so she has something to remember him by. This was also the moment she started to make dolls with skin patches.

He realized that he could make more of these dolls to make other children with Vitiligo feel better about how they look.

Later on, he also created a doll in a wheelchair to represent kids with disabilities. It has been a new hobby for a great cause and the elderly man is thrilled that he is able to do this for young children.

His works received a lot of love and appreciation when he posted about his work online thru Facebook and Instagram.

“My view of vitiligo seems to me to be very different from the general, I think it is necessary first that you have vitiligo, after this acceptance, you choose what you want to do,” the elderly man said.

What started as a simple hobby has transformed into something so much more meaningful.

What an inspiring man, indeed! We hope João creates more incredible dolls to make more children happy.

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By Caryl Jane Espiritu
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Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.