Danielle Wheeler

is creating "I've Got Spots!" A Story About Vitiligo

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Spot Me 5

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This sustaining contribution will source eco-friendly shipping materials, generate collaborations, and build platforms to lift up voices in the vitiligo community.
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About Danielle Wheeler

I was in my late 20's when my vitiligo, my “spots”, first appeared on my skin, and spread, pretty rapidly, across the rest of my body. I freaked out. I had no idea what was happening to me, and I felt completely out of control. Looking in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person I saw, and everything I read online only frightened me more. Despite having no known causes and not being a life-threatening condition, I kept seeing vitiligo referred to as a disease (it’s an autoimmune condition), and nearly every article I read was followed by ads on how to "fix" it or cover it up.

The most common side effects of vitiligo are depression and loss of self-esteem, both of which I have experienced along my own journey with my spots, and so it occurred to me that maybe what people with vitiligo need isn't medicine or makeup, maybe we need something that celebrates the uniqueness of our condition in a world obsessed with cosmetic perfection, maybe we need something that makes us feel proud of our bodies and feel included, instead of maybe feeling so alone.

I was inspired to write and self-publish a children's book because kids have been more interested in what's happening with my spots than anyone, and because the psychological impact of the condition lands hardest on those who get it young. Hopefully, sharing my story will empower anyone who has vitiligo, inform anyone who doesn't, and help everyone feel a little more comfortable in their own skin. After all, we all have something that makes us unique. We all have our own “spots” and it’s time to embrace them.

In 2019, with the help of my friend and illustrator, Jennifer Ferguson, “I’ve Got Spots!” went from a poem on my phone to a full-blown book. The project was crowdsourced and fully funded in under a month, and the original print run has since sold out - which brings me to Patreon. “I’ve Got Spots!” is currently in-process for a second printing, but this time, no crowdsourcing. It is personally funded, buoyed by the sale of pre-orders and contributions made via Patreon.

Should you choose to join me on this journey, your contribution will go toward getting the second edition of “I’ve Got Spots!” to people around the world (A BIG lift, and yes, I ship internationally!), as well as afford me the opportunity to grow my vision and message, which includes translating the book to other languages (or making a dual-language version), and creating classroom resources for educators.

Thanks for your support,
Danielle

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