Turning White by Lee Thomas
Lee’s profession was doing well until he noticed some patches on his scalp. With time, the patches spread to half of his face, body and even arms. He visited a dermatologist who diagnosed him with Vitiligo in 1996, a skin disorder that affects 40-50 million people in the world. Initially, Lee kept his Vitiligo status a secret but later decided to disclose it which led to the people giving him much attention. As an anchor, he has worked for the national television show Channel One. WABC 7 Eyewitness News in New York City. and WJBK Fox 2 News in Detroit. He also works for Fox 2 in the morning in Detroit on a daily basis. What is Vitiligo? It refers to a circumstance wherein the skin turns white as a result of the loss of pigment from the melanocytes, which are cells that create the pigment melanin that gives color to the skin. In this condition, the melanocytes are destroyed leaving patches of skin and sometimes the hair growing on the affected area also turns white. The symptoms are white patches are more commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body including hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Therefore, individuals suffering from Vitiligo ought to avoid exposing their skin to the sun. The causes are unfamiliar and not curable, but there are ways of managing it (Christian, pg 24). In the United States, 1 to 2 million people suffering from Vitiligo, in accordance with the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and skin diseases (Christian, page 22). Lee Thomas aspired to be on television when he was five years old, and this was after he saw Rodney Allen Rippy doing burger commercials and he decided to work hard to achieve his dreams. Thomas after knowing that he suffered from Vitiligo did not let the condition be in command of his life but decided to deal with it positively. He embarked on spreading hope and motivation, which he did by creating a support group which was named “Turning White.” He made the meetings open to all individuals suffering from Vitiligo and their relatives. Last September, he started a support group at Henry Ford Hospital. Being a TV character helped a great deal in making people aware of the disorder and how to manage it. In my opinion, this was a good idea as it encouraged the victims to discuss openly the problems they face and gain emotional support, get access to appropriate medical experts and even to the latest information on the treatment of the disorder. One of Lee’s patients introduced him to some curative makeup line. The patient had the intention of helping several individuals suffering from the disorder conceal their various skin conditions. Lee decided to use it when on camera. He even supports it claiming that it aids the victims in reclaiming their self-respect to face the world with a transformed sense of confidence. In my perspective, this is not worthwhile as it shows that the person who uses the line does not live positively with the disorder. I also feel that the makeup may in some way increase the progression of the disorder and therefore, strongly oppose this. Thomas Lee also wrote the book by the name, Turning White: A memoir of change, which takes in hand his private and emotional confronts with having the disorder (Christian, pg 24). There is a time Thomas would go to work and come home. However, now he is going everywhere and only wears makeup when at work.