Fellow Wikipedia editor and friend, Michaël Laurent, has recently asked me to take part in a great project: to interview Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis. I only wrote a short description of the condition, the work was totally done by Michaël and the interview was conducted by Lou Congelio. You should check out the whole story at WikiNews. Here is an excerpt.
Reggie Bibbs is a 42-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumours on his body. NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs’ case it has left him with a disfigured face. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn’t want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a succesful campaign entitled “Just Ask”, and that’s just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.
WN: You told me one time about a teacher in school who did something. Tell me about that.
RB: Right, this was in junior-high and I was in special-ed and we would ride the smaller buses. So one day my bus was late and we were there, a group of kids, waiting for the bus. By this time some of the teachers were leaving. And there was one particular teacher that was leaving, and as he passed by he told me, “Wow, where did you get that thing from?” And I was shocked. He said, “Nevermind, I thought you were wearing a mask.” It really hurt me because it was embarrassing and I had some friends with me — and it was a teacher. And I just felt really let down and betrayed because a teacher said this. And after he realized his mistake he never apologized, and that really hurt me.
The “Just Ask” T-Shirt (Image Credit: WikiNews)
I really believe that the fantastic story of Reggie Bibbs will encourage others to talk about their genetic conditions. It’s crucial to understand them and help them in any ways! Thank you, Reggie! You’re an example!