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Hi, BTN.
My name's Stef and I'm going to tell you about growing up with a condition
you might not know that much about.
It all started when I was six years old.
That was when I first realised my hair was falling out.
It was really scary and confusing.
I kept waiting for someone to break out the magic wand
and just make me better but it didn't happen like that.
Instead, the doctor told me I had alopecia.
Alopecia is a hair loss condition which has no cure.
Basically, everyone has a little army of soldiers in their body
called the immune system.
It's supposed to protect us from nasty things like coughs and colds.
My soldiers, unfortunately, they're not the sharpest crayons in the pack.
They see my hair and they attack it, which is why it falls out.
There are three different kinds of alopecia...
..which is when you get patches of hair loss on the scalp.
..which is when you lose all your hair on your head
and that's what I have now. And...
..which is when you lose all your hair on your body,
including, like, your eyebrows and your eyelashes.
The good news for you guys is that it's not contagious.
You can't catch it from anyone.
And the good news for me is that I haven't had a bad hair day in ages.
And what wardrobe would be complete without...novelty beanies?
Come here! Come here!
You can see the family resemblance.
Now I know how to laugh about it
but as a kid it was really tough having a condition
that makes you look so different,
especially when I finally went bald in year six.
It had a massive impact on me
and I was so sad for a really long time about it and very insecure.
I thought that being different would put a target on my back
with things like bullying and teasing,
so I kept it a secret for a really long time.
This is the first wig I ever got when I was about 12 years old.
And I'd already done a presentation to my year level
about having alopecia, so everybody knew.
And when I came to school for the first time wearing it,
all of my friends went running up to me like,
"Stef, Stef, it looks so good."
And I can actually still wear this.
I'm thinking I might dye it a fun colour like blue or purple.
What do you guys reckon? You might have to help me convince my mum!
These ones are really awesome because you can do things
like surfing, swimming, sport and they don't come off.
Here, look, I'll show you.
So if you wanted to do a bit of head banging,
it's not going to come off.
Good wigs can cost thousands of dollars,
but thanks to people who donated their hair to charity,
I was able to get one.
What it did was help me fit in when all I wanted to do was belong,
and it made me feel safe.
Because when I went outside without my wig on,
I would have people stare at me
and sometimes say nasty things.
As I got older, I started to realise
I didn't have to look like everyone else.
That's when I finally stopped wearing my wig every day.
I thought that having my condition made me ugly.
Now I think that, you know, I'm not the kind of beautiful
that you'll see on the covers of magazines,
but I'm my kind of beautiful and somehow that's even better.
I think there's more beauty in who you are and what you do
than there is in what you look like.
And by sharing my story,
I hope other kids with alopecia will start to see themselves
as being beautiful too.
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Rookie Report: International Alopecia Day - Behind the News

677 Folder Collection
minipa published on August 10, 2016
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