My name is Michael, I am 11 years old and am a level 3 Men’s Artistic Gymnast. I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata when I was 9 years old. My mum and my sister have Alopecia as well. In the beginning, I had a few patches here and there but my hair would come and go, then in 2022 my hair rapidly started to fall out and I lost pretty much my entire head in a couple of weeks. Because I had a few patches I decided to shave my head and I kept it shaved for a little while, this made me feel better about the patchy hair that was growing on and off. My mum shaved her head so we had a fun time and shaved some patterns like lightning bolts into my head while we were shaving it.
I was super lucky this year and got to compete on behalf of my club which is Sydney Gymnastics Centre at Rooty Hill at The National Clubs Carnival in Queensland. It was amazing competing against other clubs from around Australia and I even scored some personal best scores on some of the apparatuses like pommel and vault. I also qualified and competed at the NSW State Championships this year. My favourite apparatus is the pommel it is the one where you go around in circles on top of the apparatus, you have to try and get 10 circles in a row without stopping.
When I lost most of my hair my squad and coaches were so supportive. We talked about what was happening to me and it made me feel better when my friends understood what I was going through. One of my favourite things about gymnastics is being on the competition floor with my squad we all cheer one another on and give high fives all the time.
Being sponsored by AAAF for doing what I love makes me feel so special and proud. I am happy to show other kids like me who lose their hair that you can still do your favourite thing without hair.
I can’t wait to share my achievements with you.