US children get together to support Alopecia Awareness month
The young students at Holcomb elementary high school came out in force this week to support a fellow classmate and Alopecia Areata awareness month, this week. 300 students filled a multipurpose room in their school to help promote this special month by wearing blue jerseys emblazoned with words “I love someone with Alopecia”. Not only that, but social media channels clicked in asking students and adults to send their support.
At the centre of this get together is the Lemmings family. Deanna Lemmings is a special education teacher at the school and her 11-year-old daughter Maggie who suffers from the most severe type of the condition – Alopecia Universalis. Maggie has now lost all of her hair, but the whole family has received fantastic support from friends and the community around them.
The Daily Dunklin Democrat reported on how the condition had affected Maggie and her family over the last year. Deanna first noticed a bald patch on Maggie’s head in July 2015. They visited a paediatrician and she was given an antifungal cream, but the bald patch continued to get bigger. It was not until a month later that Alopecia was diagnosed. Six months later she was totally bald. The treatments they tried were unsuccessful and eventually Maggie and the family realised this was a condition that just had to be accepted.
Alopecia Universalis leads to baldness across the whole body so this has led to a set of challenges which Maggie has had to master. The sun can be difficult and also because she has no eye lashes things get in her eyes easily. Clearly there has been an emotional challenge which Maggie has met head on – it has been difficult, but the family feel it has and will continue to make her stronger.
Deanna says she has come to terms with people staring at her. Maggie can just explain what it is and she is fine. She has reached out to other young people who have the condition (she is friends with a girl in Dexter US) and this has given her strength as she is going through the same type of problems as herself. There is also inspiration from seeing celebrities such as the professional basketball player Charlie Villnueva, who has spent his life and career educating people about the condition.
The different types of alopecia:
- Alopecia areata affects both genders and is apparent across all ethnicities. About 50% of cases tend to start in childhood. Symptoms are usually small bald patches often linked to burning and prickly sensations in affected areas.
- Alopecia totalis is not so prevalent and affects 5% of patients with autoimmune hair loss. Whereas alopecia areata remains as bald patches, areata totalis has much more drastic effects and leads to all or nearly all of the scalp hair being lost. It only affects hair on the scalp.
- Alopecia universalis is very much like areata totalis but it affects hair on the whole of the body leading to complete baldness. It affects less than 1% of cases.
- Diffuse alopecia areata (sometimes called alopecia areata incognita) presents, as may be expected, with diffuse thinning of scalp hair. Perhaps the clearest symptom is the colour of the hair changes very rapidly and it can appear as if the hair has turned grey overnight.
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