I love villains. I always have and I assume I always will. This is probably the incorrect way to interact with movies, books, games, etc., but without a villain there is no story, there is no struggle, there is no victory. Who is Luke without Vader? Who is Harry Potter without “he who must not be named?” Who is Batman without…himself? It is easy for me to make the natural connection of seeing eosinophilis as the “villains” in my life. But do I actually love them?

The first time I saw a histological slide in person was at the Rothenberg lab in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was combination of fascination and frustration as I discovered white blood cells as the cause for chaos and disruption in my everyday life. Immediately I began to see these eosinophilis as popular villains from movies and stories we all know. I could see a white blood cell dressed as Dracula for all the nights the disease seems to keep me up way too late and drain the life from me. I could see another dressed as Frankenstein’s Monster, the way this disease makes you feel when someone says to you, “Wait, so like you can’t even eat normal pizza?!”

As this idea came to life I continued to envision more villains and every single one began to represent different obstacles that each person with an Eosinophilic Disease faces every single day. 

Apply this to your own life. We all have our version of this story. Our bad guys, our heels, our villains creep into our lives and sometimes they become the story. Sometimes those issues become the things that define us. I put these villains onto socks to show that these are battles I fight everyday. Jason and Freddy are sometimes lurking around the corner. But instead of hiding from the villains I instead choose to face them. My villains have caused pain and stress. But they have also taught me to be compassionate to others who are also hurting. They have taught me how to embrace those who are considered outsiders. So maybe I don’t quite love them, but I do understand how they are a part of my journey.

I am more than my disease. And you are more than yours.


Villains in this design:

-Frankenstein's monster
-Pennywise the clown
-Freddy Kruger
-Jason Vorhees
-Micheal Myers
-Creature from the Black Lagoon


Story by Joshua & Stefanie Riley 

Photos by Black Valve 

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