Lee Thomas: Now let’s talk about something that is close to my heart that I have been working for over the past year or so, helping people around the world become aware of today, which is World Vitiligo Day now we chose today because it’s June 25th and it’s the anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson he died at the age of 50 and Michael Jackson actually had vitiligo and I talked about my own struggle with Vitiligo and as I go around the world and I have been around world in different locations to talk about Michael Jackson and to see the difference in his skin before you could notice Vitiligo to after that’s the differences.
My book came out in ’07 called “Turning White” and we talked about that on the air but since then a lot of people have been wondering what I have been doing. I am the International spokesperson for the disease Vitiligo and I have been going around the country and the world talking about raising awareness of Vitiligo and I latched onto an association called “The Vitiligo Research Foundation” started by a guy named Dmitry Aksenov and his daughter has Vitiligo.
He is a philanthropist and he had me come over to Russia and speak at a couple of different events but he started this initiative called “World Vitiligo Day” which is today and basically what we want people to do is – we provided a link on our website, go to the website and we need 500,000 signatures to get this day recognized by the United Nations so we are going to lobby the United Nations but I’ve gone to Italy, to Spain, I’ve been to Russia twice to talk about the disease, not to mention all around this country.
So I don’t talk about myself much when it comes to having Vitiligo but obviously I have a disease that makes my face and hands look very different. It’s called Vitiligo, it’s the same thing that Michael Jackson had and I’ve been interviewed numerous times about this and I will continue to do the same thing but today is “World Vitiligo Day” and I’m working with people all over the world and there is a big press conference in Rome at the end of last week.
They are having something today but this is for people here in our area and online to know that not only am I still advocating for Vitiligo awareness but today is the day that you can go to our website and on this anniversary, the death of Michael Jackson – which he never really talked about having Vitiligo very much and hopefully – they are calling it the “Heal The World Initiative” wear purple or even more than that go the website, go to the link – 500,000 signatures – we can get it recognized as a day and then around the world we can start lobbying for different things.
This guy Dmitry Aksenov has spent countless amount of money putting into research, his own money, to find a cure and I think he is coming close. He is doing the best around the world that I have seen so he’s coming very close so It’s “World Vitiligo Day” everyone all you need to do is go to the website and we will put a link there, I think it’s called June 25.org where you can go and just sign your name or post it on your Facebook page and our Facebook page so that we can just get more awareness of this disease because I have met too many kids and too many people around the world that suffer from this disease.
Unlike me, I’m in the public, I talk a lot you guys know that, especially in the breaks but they are in hiding and I had met a woman who had not been outside in six months because she has this disease and a kid who gets teased beyond what I talked about in ’05, I have met so many more people around the world. There is a place in India where a larger percent of the population, like 20 percent of the population and they still when they get this disease get shunned, their spouse leaves them, they keep the kids away. It’s really sad what’s happening around the world. There’s an initiative in Africa as well and they are talking about it so hopefully we can get enough signatures so the Union can recognize it as a day and we then we start flowing more money into research and that’s what it’s all about so if you want to do anything, login, sign up and maybe you can help.
Interviewer: I didn’t realize that today was the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death and I remember a lot of people didn’t believe he had it.
LT: Yeah, it’s really weird because I go to speak at these different events. I have become a motivational speaker for those of you who didn’t know but I’ll talk about this more at a later date about me. Really the day’s about Michael Jackson. As I go around the world talking about Vitiligo every time someone says “do you really think he had it”? I’m like “yes, he had it.” People who have seen me walking around with no make up on, you guys have seen me, everyone here has seen me without make up on and everyone I encounter on a day to day basis – I don’t wear make up when I’m not on the air and it’s shocking. I had lost completely all of my pigment, just like Michael, my face was exactly his color. Now it’s starting to come back with something that Dmitry Aksenov, the philanthropist from Russia, tried for his daughter he said “you have to go try this” so I went and tried it. You guys know I had three weeks off, you guys might know as well, I went to a different country to try this treatment and it’s working so I’m going to talk about that coming up in a couple of months, once we get a date on when to talk about it.
Int: Full disclosure between friends and coworkers. i didn’t want to ask you about that because I didn’t want you to run the risk of you saying “no it didn’t work, or no it’s not working” so just so you know I haven’t enquired about that because I didn’t know how — I’m glad it’s working.
LT: Yeah you know how you approach things with like cautious optimism because I don’t know what’s going to happen and I talked to Dana one day about – yeah, our boss – one day about coming on the air without make up on again and just using light make up instead of dark make up because I have to cover so much at this point so the story today isn’t about me but maybe in a few months we are going to have this story to talk about exactly what’s happened since I did that other story about five years ago but yeah, it’s working but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed and I’m still under the treatment from the doctor.
LT: Thank you!
Please read our Support World Vitiligo Day June 25th !! and Sign the Petition