An 8-year-old boy from Arkansas who has a rare skin condition called vitiligo, has met a dog in Oregon who suffers from the same skin disorder. The boy has now found confidence in himself.
Carter Blanchard said he will never forget having met Rowdy, the dog who also has vitiligo. Carter has known about the dog for more than a year, as he read about Rowdy online.
Boy And Dog Suffering From Vitiligo Meet
Because of his skin disorder, Carter has been known to suffer from confidence issues, which his mother was really concerned about. Stephanie Adcock said her child regained confidence after meeting his digital friend, Rowdy, in real life.
"Really, it was life-changing for him. It changed his childhood for the better, and it was a gift I couldn't give him," she noted.
Rowdy was diagnosed with vitiligo in 2014, the same year as Carter.
Stephanie contacted Niki Umbenhower, Rowdy's owner, after having spotted a photo of the dog online, hoping that the contact with the dog will help her son accept his skin condition more easily. Niki started sharing photos of Rowdy with Carter and Stephanie.
"I do some stuff on all his social media sites and he sees it then makes comments and Stephanie will email or text me what he said. We do Facetime as well," Umbenhower said.
For more than a year, Carter and Rowdy had a long-distance relationship, getting in contact online quite often. However, it was only on March 18 that the two actually met in real life.
Umbenhower was impressed at how close the child got to her dog, saying that she felt like the two had known each other forever.
The boy has regained much of his confidence after this experience. Adcock was really impressed on how much the experience changed Carter.
"It couldn't be any other person that made him feel better. It couldn't be anyone with vitiligo that made him feel better. It had to be Rowdy. It had to be a dog," she said.
The meeting between Carter and Rowdy ended with an impromptu photo session, and the story immediately went viral.
Rowdy has his own Instagram account, and his photo scored more than 8,000 likes in just two days.
Vitiligo, A Mysterious Skin Disorder
Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder, in which the cells that are responsible for pigment (called melanocytes) are destroyed. People suffering from this condition have white patches on the skin, which can appear on different parts of the body. From the mucous membranes to the retina, vitiligo can appear everywhere on the body.
Sometimes the hair on the spots affected by vitiligo also turns white. Researchers haven't established the causes of this disorder. However, there are many theories, from genetics to the idea that vitiligo is actually an autoimmune disease. The latter is the most widely accepted theory among specialists.
"People's bodies produce proteins called cytokines that, in vitiligo, alter their pigment-producing cells and cause these cells to die. Another theory is that melanocytes destroy themselves," notes the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.