A BRIBE-TO-BE was horrified after the stresses of planning of wedding triggered a condition that caused her skin to change colour. Kandice Benford, 32, was left in tears when white patches spread over her body with weeks to go before her special day.
The hairstylist had first noticed white spots on her hands when she was in her teens, but as her wedding last November approached the spots spread to her face and legs. She thinks she developed vitiligo — where patches of skin lose their pigment — because of the anxiety of juggling the wedding preparations.
At first she tried to cover up the blotches with make-up, but eventually plucked up the courage to go barefaced for her big day after support from her partner Elliott Benford, 30. The brave bride, of Terry, Mississippi, said: “I was really down about it at first.
“You see yourself every day for 30 years and then one morning you wake up and you look different. The white spots spread over my face, hands and legs and I found it very difficult. I tried to cover it up with makeup. It was even more difficult with people around me who didn’t know what it was and would ask questions or stare.
“Kids would say, ‘Mommy, was is that all over her face?’ or people would ask, ‘Is it a burn?’
“I was freaking out but everybody has been very supportive. My husband said, ‘You’re beautiful with or without it.’”
Kandice says she had heard of the disease while she was at college when she first noticed the different colour patches on her hands, but at the time it didn’t bother her. But the condition suddenly accelerated as she approached her wedding day on November 5 last year. Elliott was sick at the time and Kandice believes the stress of caring for her future husband while juggling her job and wedding planning exacerbated the spread.
Vitiligo is widely believed to be an autoimmune disorder and though it’s not known what it’s caused by, stress and emotional trauma can exacerbate the symptoms. The disease, which affects around one per cent of the global population, is incurable. Kandice said: “I think stress triggered it, because when I got stressed I started seeing a more prominent spot on my nose and it started spreading more.
“It was like it happened overnight.”
But the big day went without a hitch, and Kandice married Elliott wearing minimal makeup.
She said: “I gave myself a pep talk and moved on. I had to embrace it. My body is my body. I ended up feeling great on my wedding day. I can honestly say having vitiligo has made me more confident in myself.”
The white spots now cover her entire body — but Kandice says she wouldn’t want to be without them and says vitiligo makes her unique. And as the couple celebrate their first anniversary, Kandice says she now hopes to inspire other women with vitiligo to embrace their bodies.
She added: “Vitiligo has honestly made me a stronger person. At first the stares made me feel very very uncomfortable but now I look at those people and wave. To anyone else going through this, you need to love yourself. Be patient with yourself. You are stronger than you think.”— Mirror Online