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New Vi-TEA-ligo Adventure in Manchester!

 Posted on 26th March 2024  4 minute read

Hey there, fellow tea lovers and curious souls!

Let me start off by saying that vitiligo has been a part of my life since I was a child. Throughout the years, I’ve navigated its challenges, its questions, and its moments of insecurity. Yet, despite living with vitiligo for so long, I’ve never had the chance to speak with others who share this condition in a space offline where we could feel comfortable and share our stories.

Last year, I tried to connect with fellow vitiligo troopers, but it didn’t end well. It was saddening, to say the least. But here I am, giving it another shot, and I can proudly say that this time, it was a success. I’m glad I gave myself another try.

What happened you may ask, let me tell you about it…

We’ve completed our first “vi-TEA-ligo” meeting in Manchester, and it was an absolute joy! When we all gathered, there was a sense of weightlessness. Throughout the week, if you happen to have vitiligo your thoughts about are constant – whether it was dealing with it personally, encountering it in colleagues or strangers (staring or unwanted advice), or simply the constant mental processing (self- doubting). But on that Sunday, we were able to set it all aside, relax, and pour out the hardships that vitiligo brings.

At our first meetup, we had the opportunity to share our experiences with vitiligo, but more importantly, we were able to be in a safe space free from judgment. We were there to listen and learn, settled in a cozy café in the heart of Manchester.

Just imagine this: by the station, a cozy corner of Manchester, filled with people from all walks of life, eager to share their stories and learn from one another. That’s exactly what went down at our little get-together!

As I anticipated at the start, it wasn’t all smooth. But with the incredible support of Nirjeet and The Vitiligo Society UK, we turned our vision into reality.

Once we got going, it was all about creating a safe space where everyone felt welcome and accepted. Whether you were living with vitiligo, a curious parent, or just someone looking to learn more, there was a seat at the table for you. The meetup was intended to be inclusive because we know what it means to be and feeling excluded.

Let me tell you, the conversations were nothing short of brave. It’s not easy to open up and share your own vitiligo journey with strangers. We shared life stories, asked questions, and soaked up knowledge like sponges. It was like a crash course in empathy and understanding, and it was beautiful to witness.

We heard from individuals who had faced challenges due to their condition but had also found strength and resilience in their journey. We listened as parents shared their concerns and hopes for their children living with vitiligo. We even had family members, who do not suffer from the condition but were willing to offer unwavering support and solidarity for the cause. It was a reminder that while vitiligo may affect us differently, our shared experiences unite us in a powerful way.

And you know what was the cherry on top for this event? We saw connections forming right before our eyes. It was like watching a family reunion, with hugs, laughter, and some fun activities. It was a reminder that no matter our differences, we’re all in this together.

Nirjeet and I, along with Vitiligo Society UK, are on a mission to spread confidence, pride, acceptance, and support far and wide. And hey, if you’re in the north and want to get in on the action, you know where to find us!

Because let’s face it, there’s “no vitiligo without TEA, ” am I right? So let’s have a cuppa. Cheers to inclusivity, understanding, and of course, lots and lots of tea!

A special thanks to all the participants who joined us and supported the meetup, your presence made all the difference!

You can find me on LinkedIn @Reuben K. Sam

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