Vitiligo is a non-contagious disease where the skin loses its color in blotches. And, if it appears on the face, it can make one unsightly. The worst affected by this condition are the children.
The embarrassment that João Stanganelli Junior’s granddaughter, Isabella, felt due to her vitiligo was probably what inspired him to ease her pain by making something that she could identify with. Incidentally, he also suffers from the same skin condition and knows the mental trauma and suffering it can cause.
Stanganelli was determined to create something to cheer his granddaughter and distract her from her skin condition. It was his wife who initiated him into crocheting and this 64-year-old Brazilian grandfather took it up as a challenge in the right earnest.
It may surprise you to know that Stanganelli learned the art of crocheting in a mere five days to be able to make a doll for his granddaughter. He started knitting crochet dolls that displayed different body types, skin disorders, and visual impairments. This was a long shot from the picture-perfect dolls available in the market, such as Barbie, Bitty Baby, and the like.
As the images of the dolls started getting circulated among his family and friends, people started requesting their own personalized dolls, such as dolls with hearing aids or dolls in wheelchairs. Social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook also boosted their demand.
Making such dolls is Stanganelli’s way of reaching out to children since he knows that vitiligo is a psychologically devastating condition. These dolls help restore the self-esteem of children suffering from this and other conditions.
On being asked by CTVNews.ca for his message to people who don’t know what vitiligo is, he says, “The spots I’ve been beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in people’s characters.”
João Stanganelli Junior: Instagram