What many people might see as a mere discomfort, or a cosmetic problem, is in fact a serious, inflammatory, immune-mediated disease. Psoriasis can also, due to its very visual nature, be highly stigmatizing, in some cases leading to ostracism, discrimination and severe loss of self-esteem, even thoughts of suicide.
As a multi-national effort to come to terms with some of these very alarming issues, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, IFPA, launched the “Under the Spotlight” film project in 2009, to raise awareness about psoriasis and to try to eradicate the many myths and misconceptions associated with the disease. Since then the project has seen contributions from 18 countries and more than a hundred short films, featuring people with psoriasis who have chosen to share their stories with the world.
I am who I am
“I am who I am”, says 28-year old Sheila, in one of the most recent Under the Spotlight films. Sheila, who lives in Spain and is an active member of Acción Psoriasis, the Spanish association of psoriasis patients, refuses to change her way of life because of her condition or how others might react to it, instead using it to educate people on what it is like to have psoriasis.
Sheila’s film was launched on the Under the Spotlight website together with the other 2012 films on World Psoriasis Day, October 29, and went on to win the international poll among the website’s visitors on most compelling film on psoriasis, the Under the Spotlight Award.
“I am very happy to have won this award so unexpectedly and have shown another view for all psoriasis patients. My story is the story of many people who also suffer from psoriasis in the world. Therefore, this award is not only for me but also for all of them”, Sheila says in response to the news that her film has received the highest number of votes.
We have put psoriasis on the agenda
Psoriasis is associated with great suffering, and impacts the lives of millions of people all over the world, yet it isn’t recognized as a serious disease by either global or national health authorities.
IFPA, along with its national member organizations, strives on a daily basis for this recognition and to get psoriasis on the political agenda. As one of IFPA’s most successful projects, Under the Spotlight has helped gain recognition of what it actually means to live with psoriasis.
Kenneth from Norway, whose film received the second highest number of votes in the poll, agrees on the importance of the project.
“The Under the Spotlight project has had a great impact for me, both in my work as the Vice President of the Norwegian Psoriasis and Eczema Association, as well as on a personal level. The UTS project has given me more confidence in talking about my experiences with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and it has shown me that the work we do in our organization, is of great importance. I feel that by the UTS project, we have put psoriasis on the agenda by being open about the disease, and this has helped other people and proven that the project has been very successful in its purpose.”
Today we celebrate Sheila and Kenneth, together with all the courageous individuals who so candidly have shared their innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences through the Under the Spotlight project. Their stories are vital to IFPA’s work for recognition of psoriasis as a global health challenge, and our warmest thanks go out to them and all the national teams who have worked so hard with this project.
Please view Sheila’s, Kenneth’s, and all the other Spotlighter’s films at the project website: www.underthespotlight.com.
International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA)
The International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) is the non-profit umbrella organization for the majority of psoriasis associations from around the world. Today IFPA has 48 member associations. IFPA unites psoriasis associations so that their global campaign for improved medical care, greater public understanding and increased research will improve the lives of the more than 125 million people who live with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis and explore the challenges psoriasis presents to the international psoriasis community.
Under the Spotlight is presented by IFPA and proudly supported by an educational grant from Abbott, the global healthcare company
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