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‘Our scars don’t define us!’

28 Sep 2020

By Mokgadi Maponya

A campaign, #MeAndMyScars, has been launched on social media to encourage anyone with scars, deformities or disabilities to show them, talk about them with the view to educate others and to break down stigmas around having scars.

Radio presenter and disability activist, Doug Anderson(43), is the person behind the campaign, which invites people to share their stories and their scars, using the #MeAndMyScars hashtag, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

He says, “The stigma is that should you have scars and/or deformity and/or a disability, you are regarded as ugly, that you are a lesser person, that you are considered a ‘freak’. In 2020 this needs to change.

I have experienced how when people see someone with scars, for example a burn survivor, someone with a deformity, someone with a disability, they look away and they don’t want to engage the person. I have even seen people run away and/or pull their kids away from someone with scars, deformity or disability,” Anderson says.

Born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, a hole in his back, damage to the spinal cord, dislocated hips, clubfoot and water on the brain, Anderson was only given a 2% chance of survival with a very poor quality of life.

“Growing up I was teased for having a disability, I have also had multiple surgeries and therefore have many physical scars all over my body,” Anderson says.

The Radio 2000 senior content producer says the use of the hashtag #MeAndMyScars is so that the campaign can be tracked on social media platforms, where people are encouraged to post and share pictures of their scarsand the stories behind them.

Anderson, who has had 49 surgeries, says that he is using his journey, his story and his scars in the hope that it inspires and motivates others around the world to join in and tell their stories about their scars.

“Through the participation in the campaign, Anderson says, it is hoped that society will change its heart towards those who bear scars and that those with scars will have the courage to tell their stories, to show their scars, to be proud of their scars and to believe that even though they carry scars, they are still beautiful.

“Scars mean you are a survivor, scars mean you overcame, scars mean you won the battle!

Tammy Nicholson, publicist specialising in digital public relations (PR), influencer marketing and brand strategy at TPW PR agency says working with Anderson on the campaign is great because he has great ideas, great intentions and a great work ethic.

“We love the campaign which is why we are involved. The message is so incredibly important, and we are so proud to be working on this incredible initiative. The message Doug is sharing is so important, that we are more than our scars, she says.

Respondents who have retweeted/reposted the hashtag online include celebrities/influencers such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mutodi Nesheshe and Karma Luna.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka tweeted: “We all have scars and we love ourselves that way. I love u @dougandersonza.”

Singer Karma Luna says “My scars are the scars you don’t see. My scars are anxiety and [post-traumatic stress disorder] but I’m learning that they don’t define me, and I’m working very hard to heal the parts of me that need healing so that my scars don’t control me.

I decided to take part in this campaign because I love what it stands for. I have scars, more on the inside and I believe in the power of vulnerability. I like that I could share my story in a dignified way and for a good purpose,” Luna told ThisAbility.

Anyone who would like to be part of this campaign is invited to share their story and scars on any social media platform using the hashtag #MeAndMyScars.

 

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