The weeks leading up to her wedding should have among the most exciting of her life.
But this American bride was left devasted after developing a skin disorder just a few months before her big day.
Kandice Benford (32) from Mississippi believes that her vitiligo – the loss of skin colour in blotches – was triggered by the stress of planning her wedding ceremony.
The bride-to-be first noticed the white spots on her hands during her college years, but says that she never really cared about it at the time.
But the skin disorder got worse after her 30th birthday.
“You see yourself every day for 30 years and then one morning you wake up and you look different,” says Kandice.
“Kids would say, ‘Mummy, what is that all over her face?’ or people would ask, ‘Is it a burn?”
She accredits the rapid spread of the skin disorder to juggling work, planning her wedding and looking after her husband, Elliot (30) who was ill at the time.
“I think stress triggered it. Because I got stressed, I started seeing a more prominent spot on my nose and it started spreading more. It was like it happened overnight,” says Kandice to Metro News.
When her big day arrived, Kandice was tempted to cover up her blotches with makeup but her husband convinced her not to, Daily Mail reported.
“I was freaking out but everybody has been very supportive. My husband said, ‘You’re beautiful with or without’, she recalls.
The 32-year-old gave herself a quick pep talk and moved on. “I had to embrace it,” says Kandice who ended up looking and feeling amazing on her wedding day.
“I can honestly say having vitiligo has made me more confident in myself.”
It’s been a year since she said “I do” and a more self-assured Kandice wants other women with vitiligo to embrace their unique features.
“At first, the stares made me feel very, very uncomfortable but now I look at those people and wave,” she says.
“To anyone else going through this, you need to love yourself. Be patient with yourself. You are stronger than you think.”