Unleashing The Hero Within – A Tribute to my Momma

No, it’s not Cancer. My Momma is a wine-loving, bling-wearing, bald-headed freak Goddess. My Mom has Alopecia.

Alopecia is a medical condition that means “loss of hair from the head and/or body”.

In the fall of 1995, my Mom began showing signs of Alopecia. Not wanting to worry my grandmother, she kept this a secret from everyone around her.

Four years ago, she started noticing more clumps of hair on her pillow, in the shower, as well as in her hair brush. I remember when she first told me…I could tell by the look on her face that she was concerned. I didn’t want to add to her stress by sharing with her the instantaneous stress I felt when she showed me her hair. I knew all too well what it could be. Nope, it wasn’t Cancer. It was Alopecia.

My Grandmother had Alopecia. Since she was just a toddler, my Grandma had no hair. Not on her head, not on her body. When she was young, her parents couldn’t afford to buy her a wig, so she grew up bald. As you can imagine, she was teased more than a time or two, but her sister (my great Auntie) took care of some of the relentless taunters….yes, and I do mean with her bare hands. I never noticed anything different about my Grandma except that she was the only Granny in town who’s hair never grayed. She always wore a wig and she always looked fabulous (plus she had the most sexy smooth legs anyone could ever wish for).

I was well aware of the possibility that my Mom could loose all her hair. And being a bit of a fashionista when it came to her jewelry, hair, and make-up, I knew this would be hard for her. Still, I knew stress was likely a trigger for even more hair loss so I refused to entertain her worries and add to her stress.

As the months progressed, so did her hair loss. Her hairdresser had mastered a multitude of styles to cover the many smooth patches making their way all over her scalp. The more she denied Alopecia, the further it spread. Although she always held strong in front of her family, when I looked in her eyes I could see that she struggled with the reality of it when she was alone. At this point, you might be thinking “it’s only hair”, I’m here to tell you that hair is a very real part of a persons identity – especially women – and one we often take for granted. It was easy to see, and yet so hard to watch…there were days when I could see her grief even when she was smiling.

Eventually we got to talking about wigs; my Mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, and I. Although we girls were all excited to go wig shopping, my Mom was anything BUT excited. She hated the idea of a wig. She said they were hot, itchy, and she’d rather go bald than wear something so unbearably uncomfortable just for the sake of meeting society’s perception of normal. The more we – as a family – talked and joked about my Mom’s inevitable baldness, the more comfortable she became…with us anyways. She still wasn’t comfortable talking to others about it.

Life took a drastic turn when she entered the world of Facebook. She was able to connect with others also affected by Alopecia. She began to feel more comfortable, more confident. Touched by so many stories, she dedicated herself to raising awareness. She never said, but I believe, that she found her passion through Alopecia. She didn’t want for any man or woman to suffer through the same loneliness she had in the silence of Alopecia. She didn’t want any child to grow up feeling they were different, or to suffer being teased by others who didn’t understand the condition. Kids – as well as adults – could be very cruel at times…and she wanted more than anything for everyone to feel accepted and understood.

Mom & my Great Auntie

In the months that followed, we watched my Mom free herself from her own cocoon. She organized a fundraiser and courageously shaved her head in front of all of her family and friends. She encouraged all of us – her children, her grandchildren, and her friends, to take turns shaving off what little was left of her hair. As her hair fell to the floor, we watched my Mom transform into a butterfly. She stood tall and proud, her eyes sparkled.

She had Alopecia. Alopecia did NOT have her.

On July 14th, 2012, My Mom headed to Sudbury to meet with a little girl named Maya. Maya Papaya, as her parents call her. Maya’s parents were taking part in The Dragon Boat Races. They had entered a boat to raise awareness of their daughters condition…Maya has Alopecia. My Mom was so excited to meet this little 5 year old beauty and her parents. A true miracle occurred when Maya saw my Mom proudly sporting her bald beauty. Maya’s eyes gleamed. Without missing a beat, Maya brought her hand to her head and pulled off the bandana covering her head, throwing it to the ground. She ran to my Mom with her arms opened wide. My Mom was greeted with a great big hug. In that moment, my Mom’s inner hero emerged. And Maya Papaya had helped her to unleash it.

Today my Mom is a bald beauty. She inspires others with Alopecia to find and embrace their beauty by sharing hers.

Today and every day, I fully embrace her awesomeness!

It’s time to change society’s perception of  “normal”…We are all different – that is what is “normal”. By sharing this blog today, you will help spread the word about Alopecia so that Maya, my Momma and anyone else affected by this condition can proudly sport their natural beauty and hold their heads up high.

What would you say to my Momma? What about little Maya? Would you sing their praise and embrace their courage? Would you have the courage to proudly sport your bald beauty? We want to hear from you! Take a moment and share your message for them in the comment section below.

Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. I’m so excited to share this one Kim! It’s easily one of my favorites too!

  2. I knew that this one would be special to you Boojie. I will do my best to share it with everyone I can. xoxoxo

  3. Thanks! And yes, Momma loves her blingage! She may have lost her hair but she certainly didn’t lose her sense of style!

  4. thank you for taking the time to read it 😀 Maya and my Mom are a true inspiration to many. I feel so honored to have been able to share their beautiful story 🙂

  5. you are a powerful force of change Stephanie! You have our support! And if you’d like your story shared, I’d be happy to share it for you 😀 All the very best to you in your journey!

  6. I believe awareness goes a long way. Let’s hope this story reaches many and that everyday it becomes easier for society to accept that we are all different and that’s what makes us special.

  7. She is wonderful and so deserves to be celebrated 🙂 Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  8. Anonymous

     /  December 2, 2012

    Simply beautiful!

  9. Anonymous

     /  December 2, 2012

    WOnderful Blog Sandy, you mom is and always will be a beautiful woman 🙂 She truly is an inspiration to everyone and she sure set a high level of example to all of her family. Once again WONDERFUL blog 🙂 Love the real life examples, truly inspiring xo

  10. Katy Aubé Wabie

     /  December 1, 2012

    Thumbs up , to both of you 🙂 you both look lovely , it’s true that some people could be cruel . Thanks for sharing your story .

  11. Stephanie

     /  December 1, 2012

    Beautiful! I hope I can soon enough have the courage to share my baldness with the world! So inspiring!

  12. Anonymous

     /  December 1, 2012

    This story is very touching for sure…….There is a lot of courage and inspiration to be commended to this woman and to Maya. Thank you so much for sharing……..hugs

  13. Anonymous

     /  December 1, 2012

    Carolle, you are so very inspiring! You always look beautiful and well put together no matter what you have on, wig or no wig. I can see why your girls are so proud of you! Well written Sandy!

  14. Angie

     /  December 1, 2012

    Ok so I cried my eyes out at this one, only because it is so honestly written about our one and only fabulous Momma!! Please share this story so we can get the word out so we can watch the world as it changes before our eyes!! Thank you Sandy, love you both so much!!

  15. What a courageous woman and little girl! This was such an inspiring blog, Sandy! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of hope, courage, and love! Another favourite!! Xo

  1. Great Courage Can Come in the Smallest Packages – a tribute to Princess Laura « Sandy Bucholtz

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