We all know that nothing is perfect, it takes courage to love our imperfect selves, and people who are born with physical impairments go through tough psychological challenges.

A Brazilian grandfather who suffers from vitiligo is being praised for his craft of crocheting dolls with different body types, skin disorders, and visual impairments.

64-year-old João Stanganelli Junior who has been living with vitiligo, a non-contagious skin condition characterized by splotchy patches of missing pigment, for nearly half of his life. This rare disorder is physically harmless, but it can result in psychological stress and social stigma, as well as increased sensitivity to the sun.

After a suggestion from his wife, he began crocheting “as a challenge.” It only took the man five days of learning, before he made a doll for his granddaughter but after photos of the doll were passed among his circle, people began asking for their personalized dolls.

“At first my fingers and back hurt a lot, today no more,” João told 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 the dolls. I have many orders.”

João also says that crocheting has quite an addictive allure – once you become accustomed to the rhythm (and the callouses on the fingers), it is hard to stop!

He told CTVNews.ca that he’s been “amazed by people asking for dolls” and felt “gratitude for the varied responses of adults and children.”
People with vitiligo can be psychologically devastating, according to the American Academy of Dermatology and Stanganelli said people and parents of those with the disorder have been reaching out.

Stanganelli said that although vitiligo hasn’t caused him “any inconvenience” personally since he was diagnosed at 38 years old, he knows others with it aren’t so lucky particularly children. He said people have told them that the dolls have been “helping with their self-esteem.”

Image credits: joaostanganelli







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