Culture

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

Brazilian grandfather João Stanganelli learned to crochet with one goal in mind: to uplift the self-esteem of children with vitiligo. Stanganelli began to show signs of the skin condition when he was 38. Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color in blotches and can affect any part of the body. 

“Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself,” according to the Mayo Clinic. 

While some of the possible symptoms listed are sunburn, susceptibility to skin cancer, eye problems, and hearing loss, professionals also note that one of the most difficult issues is a social stigma which can lead to low self-esteem or other psychological issues. 

Fortunately, abuelo João Stanganelli is out here putting smiles on children’s faces and reminding them that they look absolutely perfect. 

A new beginning

Stanganelli began to show signs of vitiligo when he was 38. However, it wasn’t until last year, at 64, that he began this amazing project. After losing his job in the gastronomy industry due to a heart condition, Stanganelli wanted to keep busy while he was at home. He and his wife Marilena took up crocheting together. At first, it proved to be difficult, causing him to develop calluses on his fingers. But after five days of practice, Stanganelli crocheted his first doll. 

A tiny idea becomes a big one

While he only intended to create something to pass onto his granddaughter, things quickly snowballed.

“I decided to make the doll for my granddaughter, and wanted something that she would remember about her grandfather,” he told Romper.

Stanganelli decided to crochet her a doll that looked like him, one with two skin tones. However, photos of his adorable doll began to circulate – people wanted in. 

A new way to honor children’s differences

Parents of children with vitiligo wanted a doll for their little ones, but they weren’t the only group that wanted to be seen. Others began to request dolls with a wheelchair, hearing aids, blindness, alopecia, and other differences. They wanted their children to see themselves, and it’s not like there were many options on the market. 

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but just take a look at one of the comments on this doll with a wheelchair, “This is so beautiful it just made me cry. My Jenna has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. You truly are so awesome for all you do sir. May God bless you over and over.” 

“These are beautiful. I’ve had vitiligo since my mid-40s. My face, chest, back, neck and some on my arms. It is a, “how did this happen” disease. These are a beautiful way for ppl to converse abt this so others understand. God bless you Joao,” another person wrote.

Difference is beauty

“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in peoples’ characters,” Stanganelli told CTV News. Kids and parents have told him that the dolls are “helping with their self-esteem.” Just more proof that representation matters, especially to those most vulnerable. 

It’s no secret that kids can be particularly cruel about differences, Stanganelli is providing children with an honorable service — a little taste of what it feels like to be represented just like anybody else. Sometimes the ordinary can you make feel extraordinary. 

“Vitiligo can be life-altering… Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends. They can develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Redefining beauty

Stanganelli’s dolls come at a time where people with vitiligo are embracing their unique aesthetic rather than covering it up. The Brazilian children’s book Menina Feita de Nuvens, or “the girl made of clouds,” tells the story of a little girl with a superpower: vitiligo. 

Models like Winnie Harlow, Breanne Rice, and Ash Soto have brought vitiligo to the mainstream of fashion. 

“Female models with vitiligo now appear regularly on designer runways and in advertising campaigns, empowering those who once hid behind the makeup to use these tools to enhance their individuality. Women with vitiligo who span the spectrum, including White models with vitiligo and Black models with vitiligo, are expanding the public’s definition of what it means to be attractive,” writes Anna Papachristos for APlus

If you would like to purchase a custom crocheted doll, please reach out to Stanganelli and his wife on Facebook

This Brazilian Paraglider Fell 150 Feet And Survived To Tell About It

Entertainment

This Brazilian Paraglider Fell 150 Feet And Survived To Tell About It

Top Litoral / Facebook

A paraglider in Brazil was filmed as he lost control of his parachute and began to fall 150 feet. The man, identified as Marinquinhos, 35, got caught in gusts of strong winds as he was gliding along a beach over the Dream Beach Hotel in Itanhaém on the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He lived to tell the tale. After Marinquinhos collided into a building, the video recorder rushed to his side and called emergency services. The fallen paraglider survived with fractures to both of his legs and is expected to make a full recovery. He’s currently being treated for his injuries at a hospital in Brazil.

The exact reason for Marinquinhos’ literal downfall has not been determined yet. In extreme sports like paragliding, human error can often be fatal, but Marinquinhos lucked out.

Marinquinhos valiantly tried to maneuver away from the buildings and toward the beach but the winds got the best of him.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

In the video, you can see the paraglider being whipped around in the air as the parachute collapses, losing wind from its sails and the wind energy that kept him afloat. The video cuts short as he starts to fall, with the last frame of Marinquinhos’ body falling headfirst. The recorder drops the camera as the, what started out as idyllic, video of a paraglider soon becomes a nightmare. 

Later, images emerged of the paraglider’s parachute dangling from a second-story terrace as a group of people and medical personnel surround the extreme sports enthusiast. both of the man’s legs were stabilized in foam restraints as his wounds were bandaged on the scene. He managed to survive with relatively minor injuries, and enough of an adrenaline rush to probably last a lifetime, or at least until his broken bones heal. 

Statistically, paragliding isn’t any more dangerous than driving.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

It doesn’t get you from point A to B, nor does our culture necessitate the risk as it does commuting to work, but as scary as paragliding accidents seem, the fatal risk of paragliding isn’t higher than that of driving. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 4 out of every 1,000 Americans die in road crashes every single year. Meanwhile, in Germany, just 1 out of every 11,000 paraglider pilots suffer fatal injuries from the extreme sport, according to a New Zealand paragliding company. 

That said, a medical study conducted from August 2004 to September 2011 in Turkey found that of those patients who were hospitalized for paragliding injuries, more than 20% of them would succumb to those injuries. That’s a 1 in 5 chance that if you get into a paragliding accident, you will die (in Turkey). 

Paragliding was only just invented in the 1940s and popularized in the 1980s.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

Those who start out paragliding usually do so accompanied by a pilot using a special parachute. Typically, you’re also outfitted with an emergency parachute in the case that the specially designed paragliding parachute fails. The perks of paragliding is that it’s considered an aviation sport that doesn’t require any logistical coordination with an airport. The aforementioned study also found that “the number of accidents that usually cause high energy trauma and subsequent morbidity or mortality has tended to increase in this sport correlatively with the increasing number of flights.” That is, the more people often a person makes a paragliding jump, and the more experience they acquire, the more likely they’ll be injured. Objectively, it makes sense when thinking about sheer exposure to the danger, but not in terms of expertise.

Men and tourists are more likely to be injured by paragliding.

CREDIT: Небо и Экстрим / YOUTUBE

The Turkish study found that more than half of those injured and killed by paragliding were tourists, seeking an adrenaline-rushed bird’s-eye view of their travel destination. More so, nearly 85% of those hospitalized were men. the most stomach-lurching statistic is obvious: injuries and fatalities are higher when the paragliding event failed mid-air. Of course, that means a long, terrifying fall from the sky and a long road to recovery if you’re lucky. The average length of hospital stay for a paragliding injury is 18 days in Turkey. In America, that’s called guaranteed medical bankruptcy, unless you have a wealthy circle of GoFundMe friends or scribble “Take the jump, go vegan!” on your hand before the flight.

We don’t need a medical or social study to declare the obvious: our mamis do not approve of this sport.

READ: Freak Rollercoaster Accident In Mexico City Kills Two And Injured Dozens Others

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

Things That Matter

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

@mr_nobody / Twitter

A Brazilian cancer survivor has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and face to cover the hole that a devastating bout of skin cancer left. Denise Vicentin, 52, beat her cancer a decade ago and has since been living without a part of her jaw and her right eye ever since. Vicentin was so self-conscious about her battle scars, she became afraid to go out in public. People would stare at her everywhere she went and, soon, her social life and marriage fell apart. “[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me,” she told the Daily Mail.

Ten years later, researchers were able to create a custom prosthetic using just a smartphone camera and a 3D printer. Now, she feels like she has her ‘missing piece’ and says she is so happy that she even sleeps with it on.

Years ago, she was offered a hand-made prosthetic, but it would have cost her half a million dollars.

CREDIT: @MR_NODOBY / TWITTER

A portion of her right jaw was removed, making it difficult for her to eat and slurring her speech. One of Vicentin’s most painful wounds left behind by the cancer was her inability to navigate throughout society without being ostracized or made to feel different. When doctors offered her the opportunity to have a prosthetic made for her, she had no choice but to turn it down. It would have cost over half a million U.S. dollars. 

Waiting for the right moment may have paid off for Vicentin. As technology has advanced, the capabilities of 3-D printing are only just now being realized. Vicentin sought out an alternative treatment at São Paulo’s Paulista University just last year and is already walking into 2020 with a new lease on self-confidence.

The final prosthesis just took 12 hours to create and a fraction of the cost thanks to 3-D printing technology.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

The research team at Paulista University formulated a plan to give Vicentin her ‘missing piece.’ Vicentin would have to undergo several surgeries over the next year in order to fit the prosthesis. Then, the doctors took 15 photos of Vicentin’s right eye socket from a simple smartphone. From there, they were able to use all the images to digitize a 3-D model that would eventually become the blueprint for the 3-D printer. 

The final model was printed and refined in just 12 hours, from a mixture of silicone, resin, and synthetic fibers. After the 3-D printer created the technical piece that would sit flush on Vicentin’s face, a bit of human artistry was applied to make the prosthetic as realistic as possible. The researchers painted the prosthetic to match Vicentin’s exact eye hue and skin color. They even individually secured lashes to resemble that of her other eyelid.

The research team has been perfecting 3-D prosthetics since 2016, offering new levels of confidence to over 50 patients so far.

CREDIT: @CANAL_44 / TWITTER

Dr. Rodrigo Salazar has specialized in maxillofacial prosthetics for the last few years and has married technology with medicine to create lasting change for his patients. In order to get a proper model for a prosthetic, he used to have to create a mold of the patient’s face, on the patient’s face. Today, he needs only a smartphone camera to capture the necessary data to create a model prosthetic. 

Vicentin never expected skin cancer to become a defining chapter of her life.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

When Vicentin was in her early 20s, she found a strange growth on her face and went to the doctor. It was a tumor, but it was benign, non-cancerous. She had it surgically removed and thought that was the end of it. It returned again, once again, benign. She had it removed a second time and enjoyed nearly 20 more years tumor-free. Ten years ago, the tumor came back, but it was malignant, slowly ravaging the right side of her face.

Today, Vicentin has titanium hooks surgically placed around her eye socket in order to be able to securely wear the prosthesis and take it off when she pleases. So far, Vicentin has been wearing the prosthetic for just a month and she loves it. ‘It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it – I even slept with it,” Vicentin told the Daily Mail