VitLife

About The Vitiligo Society

Share this article →

Our Mission

The Vitiligo Society was established in 1985 and we support people living with vitiligo in the UK.

Our Mission is to beat vitiligo by eradicating the psychological, social and physical effects that vitiligo has on people’s lives, and by finding effective treatments and a cure.

In order to achieve our mission we focus on five priority areas of work which we feel represent us as a Society and what we need to do to best support and represent our community. These are:

  • Educate: provide up-to-date information on vitiligo
  • Research: inform on, and contribute to, the latest research
  • Support: develop and invest in our support services
  • Advocate: be a strong voice for our community
  • Campaign: reach out to all the people who need us

Board of Trustees

The Trustees of The Vitiligo Society meet regularly to agree on the general policy and strategy of the Society. They are all volunteers and are people who either have vitiligo or have been affected by the condition in some way. Trustees have the responsibility of monitoring the finances of the Society to ensure that money is well spent on matters of primary concern to its members.

John Dunster

Chairperson

John became a member of The Vitiligo Society in April 2019 and shortly after was delighted to join the board of Trustees.

John has had vitiligo since 2005 and only in recent years has been able to speak openly with family and friends about it. John is very passionate about helping fellow sufferers on their own journey towards acceptance and supporting people to feel more confident in their own skin.

John is a HR professional with experience over the last 12 years in the Financial Services and Energy sectors. John lives in Woking, Surrey, with his wife Amy and miniature dachshund, Dot.

John became was appointed Chairperson in 2021.

Natalie Ambersley

Social Media & VitLife Editor

Natalie has been a member of the Society for over 20 years, she regards the charity as one of the ‘success factors’ that helped her understand and appreciate her indifferences. It was also at the Society where she first got to meet people that shared the same condition as her.

She has worked predominantly in Finance within the banking and telecoms industry and regards travelling, writing and going to the theatre as her main hobbies. She has a keen interest in nurturing wellbeing and also writes a blog called ‘Being Just Us’ which documents her journey with vitiligo which she developed during her early childhood.

Natalie became a trustee in February 2017

Denise Oduntan

Parent Support Network

Denise is a Trustee and leads on the Society’s Parent Support Network.

Denise became a member of The Vitiligo Society in 2019 seeking support when several members of her family were diagnosed with vitiligo at the same time. She became a trustee in 2020 with the hopes of raising awareness and getting more families the support they need when they are faced with vitiligo.

Denise is a procurement professional in the food industry with previous experience in financial roles at various organisations. She holds a Masters Degree in Finance and a Bachelors in Economics.

Robert Symonds

Community Research & Marketing

Rob has been involved in the Society since he called the Society’s helpline as a worried 16 year old. He then got involved in the Society through fundraising activities, then from 2005 as a trustee for around 10 years, latterly chairing the board meetings.

After taking a well deserved break, Rob recently become involved with the Society again as a volunteer on our community research project, he brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge from his previous work with our charity and his own career.

Catherine Davidson

International Partnerships and Governance

Catherine Davidson has been a member of The Vitiligo Society for a number of years and was delighted to become a Trustee in December 2020.

She was diagnosed with vitiligo as a student and found it hard to find information about the condition. She is keen to increase awareness about vitiligo, provide support and advice to sufferers, and help support research efforts.

Catherine has 20 years of experience in government relations, predominantly in the financial services sector, and has worked in Brussels and London. In her spare time, she likes dance, choral singing and is currently learning Gaelic.

Alexandre Schneider

Medical and Scientific Community

Alex was first diagnosed with Vitiligo when he was around 7 years old, and described how he spent the next decade of his life trying to find effective treatments.

He discovered the Vitiligo Society during the Summer of 2021, joining the board shortly after. Originally an engineer by education, Alex currently works as a researcher within the financial services industry and as highly interested in new scientific innovations be it in engineering, finance or biomedical fields.

Alex leverages this natural curiosity to help develop the Society’s network of associated specialist dermatologists/practitioners in the UK to help disseminate the latest research developments to the wider public.

Dale Biermann

Signposting and Support Services

Dale received his diagnosis in 2012, and after struggling with his vitiligo for many years explains how it took one person to change his entire mindset and by extension, life.

Dale joined the Vitiligo Society in 2021, and later became a trustee as a way to be able to assist others with their journey.

Dale’s career path places him in direct contact with the public and brings this experience to help respond to Society enquiries and signpost people to the help, support and information they need.


Staff members

Abigail Hurrell

Charity Director

Abbie is responsible for leading the development and delivery of the Charity’s long-term strategy and for the operational management of the Charity. Abbie ensures that the Charity delivers as effectively as possible its annual targets, raising income and deliver impact for those living with vitiligo.

Although Abbie doesn’t personally have vitiligo, she is able to draw upon her many years of lived experience with severe acne to empathise with the challenges of living with a skin condition.


Patrons of the Society

Lee Thomas

TV Entertainment Broadcaster

Lee Thomas is a world famous four time Emmy award-winning TV broadcaster who has lived with vitiligo for over 25 years. Lee has become an international spokesperson for vitiligo and has authored a book documenting his journey with vitiligo called ‘Turning White’.

Professor David Gawkrodger

Honorary Professor in Dermatology

Professor David Gawkrodger is honorary professor in dermatology at the University of Sheffield. He has a long standing interest in the clinical and immunological aspects of vitiligo, and was the lead author on the British Association of Dermatologists’ guideline on vitiligo.


Ambassadors of the Society

Simon Marlin

International DJ – The Shapeshifters

Simon Marlin is an English house music producer and the frontman for The Shapeshifters. His career skyrocketed with his debut number 1 hit Lola’s theme in 2004, and since then has been travelling the world DJ’ing for thousands of people. Simon has visible vitiligo on his arms and hands and talked openly about this at one of our conferences.

Joti Gata-Aura

Vitiligo Campaigner and Author

Joti Gata-Aura is a British Asian and brought up in the UK. She runs the ‘Positively Diverse’ social media campaign, which champions better representation in the media for those with visible differences and disabilities.  She currently works as a teacher and recently published a memoir Strong in the Skin I’m in, which discusses her experience of living with vitiligo. Joti is passionate about challenging stereotypes and also breaking down barriers in society and within the Asian Community, most importantly she wants to support and inspire others to become more confident in the skin they are in. Follow her story: @positivelydiverse and  www.positivelydiverse.co.uk

Table of contents