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Rare Disease Brings Two Friends Together

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Two young girls celebrated a unique bond they share from being “different.”

Eight-year-old Kelsey Head of Denton and Gwen Depriest, 9, of Missouri reconnected at Six Flags Over Texas on Monday.

Both girls have an auto-immune disease called vitiligo, which causes the depigmentation of their skin. The cause of this rare disease is unknown, and less than 1% of the world’s population has been diagnosed with it.

In the past two years, Kelsey has lost 30 percent of her pigmentation and Gwen has lost almost all of hers.

“Until we met Kelsey, Gwen didn’t know anybody else with this condition and it was very hard for her when people would ask her what is wrong,” said Gwen’s mother, Stacy DePriest. “She didn’t really know how to explain it, but now, she at least doesn’t feel alone.”

The girls met and instantly bonded last year at a national conference about the disease. While they’ve only seen each other once since their initial meeting, they have shared numerous phone calls and become a support system for one another as they deal with the everyday struggles of adolescents, combined with the view from others as being “different.”

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