Mira Walker Promotes Vitiligo Awareness
August 8, 2017
Mira Walker suffers from Vitiligo and wants people to learn about her disease.
Seeking her doctorate in professional counseling at Mississippi College, Walker serves as the founder and CEO of Vitiligo Beautified. The Jackson native hopes more Americans become aware of the medical condition she’s lived with since 2005.
What is Vitiligo?
It is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from Vitiligo is unpredictable. Millions of people worldwide suffer from the disease and the cause remains a mystery. It’s not contagious or life-threatening.
Experiencing the disease for the first time as a 27-year-old college student, Mira noticed the reaction.
“People stare and point,” she said. “Kids ask questions.”
People want to know what’s wrong with her. The Mississippi College doctoral student says the disease can diminish chances for job seekers.
The disease can impact people with Vitiligo by lowering their self-esteem and causing depression, reports the American Academy of Dermatology. The loss of skin color may affect any part of the body. Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells die or stop functioning.
But rather than hiding her disease by covering up her arms with clothing, Walker wants Mississippians to take notice and learn more.
The Jackson State University graduate recently crafted a proclamation signed by Gov. Phil Bryant promoting Vitiligo Awareness Day in Mississippi. It occurred on June 25. But Walker makes it her business to spread the message about her disease year-round.
She’s willing to address the subject in speeches before civic clubs, at workshops, and at schools. She will really go any place where folks will listen. She plans to attend a national conference on the subject in June 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The disease impacts less than 1 percent of the USA population.
The Jackson resident believes stress at her work led her to get the disease a dozen years ago. She’s tried treatments, including laser treatments, but the procedures didn’t make a dramatic change in her appearance.
People may know little about the disease. But the late pop icon Michael Jackson had it. Model Winnie Harlow suffers from it.
Mira’s daughter, Kayla Odom, 8, helps her mom cope with the disease.
The third grader helps spread awareness and ease fears when classmates ask what’s wrong with her mother.
Kayla doesn’t suffer from the disease. She neatly sums it up when people ask. Her mom, she said, is “black and white,” a loving Mississippi mother with two colors. In her immediate family, Mira has ten brothers and three sisters and none have Vitiligo.
Mira’s non-profit foundation is designed to provide mentoring, education services and other resources to help youth and families cope with Vitiligo.
Medical professionals advise people afflicted with Vitiligo to avoid bad sunburns and use sunscreen daily, among other things. They encourage people with it to develop coping strategies.
What’s next for Mira? On track to receive her doctorate at Mississippi College in May 2018, the Jacksonian seeks to become a licensed mental health counselor. At the same time, Walker will continue to promote further research on Vitiligo and spread the word.
From Psychology Department chair Jan Lemon to advisor Dawn Ellison, Mira’s got many Mississippi College admirers as she pursues her cause with an abundance of determination.
For more information, contact Mira Walker at 601-906-2778 or email@example.com
Contact Andy Kanengiser, University News Coordinator, at 601.925.7760 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.