Kyla is a 13-year-old who has been living with Alopecia areata since 2020. Here is her story.
“I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata when I was 11 and I am now currently 13 years old.
It all started when my sister Lorelai was playing with my hair at my grandma’s house. The next week my mum took me to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata.
By the end of March 2020 all my hair had fallen out except for a bit at the back that looked like a bald mullet. I then decided to shave off what was left, and I was a lot happier than I had been since hair started falling out. I was also very lucky that my mum decided to shave her head with me.
Over the next few months my hair grew back. At the end of June 2020, I received my first Bravery Buddy and I named her Desiree after my dancing teacher, who is very special to me. I was the first person with alopecia to receive a Bravery Buddy.
In September, I decided that I would like to get a wig. I then met Martine from Freedom Wigs (Martine also suffers from alopecia), and we organized a wig to be made for me. One of the reasons I wanted a wig was for my school photos. Unfortunately, my wig took a while to be made because it was made to my head shape, so we bought a cheaper, synthetic hair wig which I wore once and that was for school photos. My wig cost $5000 so we applied for a grant from Variety. One of the ironic things about my alopecia journey is that in late November 2019, I donated my hair to Variety’s Heart with Hair program. So, I was basically asking them – could I have my hair back.
Because my wig was made to my head shape, I had to shave all my hair that was growing back so my head could be scanned for the wig cap. A few days before I shaved it all off my hair started falling out again, so it felt like I was making the right decision.
In mid-October I was made the first Bravery Buddies ambassador by Tegan, who runs Bravery Buddies, and Bravery Buddies was opened to kids with alopecia because of me. My wig arrived in time for my year 6 formal and I was so relieved it arrived in time. One of my friends thought that it was my real hair even though they saw me in class the day before with nothing on my head.
In 2021, I started year 7. For the first couple of weeks, I wore my scarf but then I started wearing my wig once a week or more. If people asked questions about my scarf, I’d just tell them that I had alopecia, I’m not sick and it’s not contagious.
Year 7 was going good until about mid-June when my eyebrows started falling out. The same week that this happened I competed at a dance eisteddfod and danced bald for the first time and I came in 2nd and 1st. Then during lockdown my eyelashes started falling out.
I’m now currently in year 8 and this is my alopecia journey so far.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kyla!