Elderly man crochets dolls with vitiligo to comfort kids sharing the same condition

When kids see dolls with the same condition, they feel represented and comforted.

Vitiligo is a condition in which white patches appear on the skin. Children are more susceptible to this skin condition due to the fact that it usually develops early in life.

Although vitiligo is physically harmless, it has a psychological impact on the affected person, especially on children.

In order to make children with vitiligo feel better, a 64-year-old grandfather from Brazil crochets dolls with patches. Being a vitiligo sufferer himself,  Joo Stanganelli Junior understands how this skin condition can affect someone’s self-esteem.

His main concern is young vitiligo patients who think something is wrong with them because they look different.

Stanganelli is semi-retired, so he has more time to crochet dolls to help kids feel better about themselves. During their free time, he and his wife crocheted beautiful dolls with patches.

Initially, Stanganelli’s fingers and back hurt a lot, but today they don’t,” he said.

Although I’m not yet retired, I still work with food, but much less intensely. Currently, I spend 90% of my time playing with dolls. “I have a lot of orders.”

Especially if you crochet for a good cause, Stanganelli says crocheting can be addictive.

His first doll was for her granddaughter, something that will always remind her of him. He made a doll with patches of vitiligo for this reason. During this time, the idea of crocheting dolls with patches was born.

Stanganelli began making more of these distinctive dolls after being inspired by the results. To help children feel better and more valued despite their health conditions, he made a doll in a wheelchair.

His dolls have brought joy and self-esteem to many children with vitiligo, as expected. His latest works were showcased on Facebook and Instagram, where his dolls gained a great deal of popularity.

Dolls with vitiligo patches
João Stanganelli

Stanganelli believes that it is necessary first to accept vitiligo, then you can decide what you want to do with it,” he said.

I still quote Benjamin Disraeli: “Life is too short to live small.”

Maria Luiza, the daughter of author Tati Santis de Oliveira, was one of the children touched by Stanganelli’s doll. Her mother looked for all information about vitiligo after she was diagnosed with it.

Stanganelli’s dolls also inspired her to write a book about her daughter’s vitiligo when she discovered them. A Menina Feita de Nuyens or “The Girl Made of Clouds” is the title of the book.

Stanganelli says the book has a lot of useful information for parents who have children with vitiligo. Also, the book aims to raise awareness of vitiligo and promote social acceptance.

In order to help his clients cope with their children’s situation better, Stanganelli often recommends this book to them. “I hope we will see an English translation soon!” he said.

In the end, Stanganelli didn’t just develop a fun and rewarding hobby but he also put smiles on children’s faces and made a difference in their lives. Kudos to this loving and creative grandpa!

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