We caught up with Diane Wilkes Tribitt, the founder of The Houston Vitiligo Movement (HVAM) and also this year’s event host, to hear first-hand, how she felt the 2019 conference went.
“I’m so grateful that the conference went well” said Diane excitedly. “We are continuing to receive great feedback and that makes me so happy. Our (HVAM) goal was to ensure that the 2019 World Vitiligo Day Conference was an “experience” that every attendee would take back with them when it was over. One that they wouldn’t forget and hopefully one that was life-changing. I believe that experiences are encounters and our attendees had those in several ways”.
We asked Diane what her 3 favourite things were about the 2019 conference:
1. Seeing others who looked like them and not feeling as if they were the minority. We were the majority in the Marriott Hotel and surrounding area that weekend.
2. Having the opportunity to listen to experts in the fields of dermatology and mental health. They had opportunities to ask questions to the doctors that focus on Vitiligo and the social impact it has on our lives.
3. Knowing that our kids/teens were given the tools they needed to thrive. I personally saw how several kids arrived not so certain what to expect but not wanting the weekend to end and most importantly leaving with smiles on their faces.
Diane continued, “Although my team and I worked really hard to ensure the conference was a success, the reward of our labour came from seeing changes with our own eyes. When I saw the smile on the face of Vivian Harrison (we all call her “Mother”) who is 89-years old and was diagnosed just 11-months ago, I know the conference changed her life. When she joined HVAM, she felt alone, uncertain about her life with Vitiligo, and had contemplated suicide. Now, she knows she has a family that loves and supports her. That family extends beyond HVAM and includes all the individuals who loved on her when they heard her story. Her daughter told me it had been a long time since she saw her mother so happy. That was an ENCOUNTER!
The assignment God gave me to make a difference in the lives of others through spreading awareness and educating the community about Vitiligo is something I will continue to do. WVD 2019 was both an EXPERIENCE and ENCOUNTER for me! One that I will never forget!
To learn more about the Houston Vitiligo Awareness Movement, please explore their website by clicking here.