SYSK: Sydney La Rue educates people on albinism - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Sydney La Rue educates people on albinism


"Probably the more correct term is person with albinism. Even though it's more of a mouthful to say," said Sydney La Rue.

The Dubuque native is a senior at Wartburg College in Waverly. She's majoring in biology with minors in Spanish and chemistry.

La Rue said about one in every 17,000 people have albinism. And one in about 70 people are carriers of the albinism gene.

"There are a couple types of albinism. I have oculocutaneous, which means there's no or low pigment in hair, skin and eyes. It usually leads to visual complications," said La Rue.

La Rue is legally blind. She can't drive and has to use magnification tools in class.

"It's like binoculars with one so I can read the white board or computer screen or whatever the professor is presenting," she said.

But La Rue said she is not color blind, as many people assume. Something that is true, she's easily sun burnt.

"No, pretty sure I don't tan," said La Rue jokingly.

Especially during the summer months, La Rue wears lots of sunblock and long sleeves.

"There are companies out there that have UV resistant clothing," she said.

La Rue has no problem answering any questions about albinism. She says she understands people are curious. She even gave a presentation about herself in a genetics class.

"I'm okay if people come up and ask me questions," said La Rue.

The college senior is part of NOAH -- the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. She attends conferences every couple of years and recommends NOAH as a good resource for people hoping to learn more about albinism.

Setting her low pigment aside, she hopes people see she's just like every other student at Wartburg College. After graduating in May, she hopes to attend veterinary school.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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