Inspirational People: Yvette Fielding
Yvette Fielding is known to many in the UK for presenting TV shows such as Blue Peter and Most Haunted. At the age of 17 Yvette became the youngest ever to present Blue Peter. Recalling a situation when working on the show Yvette told The Mirror: “The editor decided it would make a good feature for me to strip off live on camera and show everybody my patches for a feature on vitiligo. I was only 17 and so embarrassed, but we got sacks full of post from young children with skin disorders, saying I’d stopped them from being afraid to go out, so she was right.” Yvette developed the condition Vitiligo when she was 11 years old after noticing a white patch on her thumb. Yvette was already familiar with the condition as her mother also had Vitiligo. She said “My mother had vitiligo very badly and it affected her confidence – she didn’t like to go out of the house very much. I was very protective of her and I’d say to people: ‘What are you staring at?’”
Vitiligo is a condition which causes white patches to develop on the skin due to a lack of pigment. Vitiligo occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells that produce the skin’s pigment, melanin. Why this happens is not fully understood. Speaking of her condition Yvette said: “By the age of 21, my body was completely white. And I’ve lost all the pigment in my hair, my eyebrows and eyelashes – they’re completely white – so I have to dye them. It’s a pain in the neck, as I have to do it every couple of weeks. I’m not an albino, but the doctor has warned me that my eyes are more sensitive to sunlight than most people. I have special sunglasses, with antiglare, that go dark straight away. My main problem is that because I’ve lost the pigment in my skin, I get sunstroke very easily. If I go on holiday, I have to wear factor 50 sun cream, as well as sitting under a parasol and wearing long sleeves, even for swimming.”
“The strangest thing is that I can burn at any time of the year. Just a few weeks ago, I was in the field for an hour and a half tending to my horses and I had sunstroke that night and was quite poorly, I had a migraine and felt sick. I had to lie down in a dark room.I once suffered third-degree burns. I was filming a feature on water slides outdoors for Blue Peter in Somerset. I was in the water and it wasn’t sunny, yet I got so badly burned I couldn’t walk or speak or wash my hair. I had blisters and burns all over my body and was in a very bad way for quite a while.”
Despite her struggle with Vitiligo Yvette has refused to let Vitiligo stand in the way of her life and has made a successful TV career for herself.