I had the pleasure of working with this beautiful young lady by the name of Madison Chin also know as LittleMissBaldie. She's a 6 year old Alopecian Beauty who rocks her baldness and she rocks it very well. She has an amazing mother who supports her and everything she does and I commend her for being strong for her daughter every step of the way. I share this story to empower young girls and teens out there to own your baldness and never allow it to get the best of who you are. Hair doesn't determine your beauty or your self worth, You do.
In December 2013, 25 days away from her 4th birthday my daughter Madison was diagnosed with Alopecia and I felt hopeless. I had no idea what Alopecia was and worse no idea how to help her. From age 2 our baby girl Madison had beautiful dread locks. We would style them, put pretty ribbons in them and occasionally dress them up with a cool hat. She loved her hair. But when I started seeing patches and then we started finding Locs in her bed and in the play area we knew something was wrong.
Time went by and eventually all of her Locs were claimed by Alopecia and soon her eye brows and eye lashes followed. We saved her Locs in a special box in hopes of using them to maybe make a wig for her. In the meantime we adorned her head with hats. Lots and lots of hats. Hats that were cute. Hats that were not so cute. Some that were small and others that were too big. All too often these hats got in the way of Madison just being a "uniquely" normal 4 year old, who wanted to run and jump and have fun.
So my husband and I decided to search for wigs. Unfortunately, there were many obstacles in the search, as we were looking for something age appropriate and culturally fitting. We reached out to some of our Social media friends for suggestions and our request basically went viral. At least to us it did. People started offering to donate their hair, to cut their dread locks. They offered their time and their advice and solutions. It was amazing.
But the amazement soon turned into to further disappointment as we hit more road block with some of the suggestions and referrals to well know organizations who accepts, processes and uses donated human hair to creat wigs for those suffering from hair loss. There we were with such brave and selfless people ready and waiting to make the big chop for our little girl and we had to basically turn them away.
You see, none of these popular organizations for donated hair were versed in dealing with dread locks, nor were they able to fulfill our request for a natural wig that was culturally fitting. We really wanted something that was similar to Madison's hair before and resembled the hair of others she sees and identifies with on a daily basis. One stylist took on the challenge and created a signature wig- which she calls Crowns. From this one experience the stylist Hadiiya Barbel said, the process of creating the crown for Madison was divinely fulfilling for her. "It's the energy and love put into the details and creative process of customization that makes the difference between a wig and a crown, and this one is really special." On september3rd, 2014, the start of Alopecia awareness month Madison was Crowned. Since then Madison has been crowned twice with two other customs from stylist who put great time and talent into the pieces that they made special for her.
We have been blessed to meet so many people great people on this journey including The beautiful baldie Nell Coleman, a true inspiration and visionary. Nerissa Irving, whose kind heart moved her to post about our quest for a wig for Madison. And Sammy Jones of Guam, who in browsing on Instgram Madison's page, read her story and decided to shave her head in support of Madison's struggle with Alopecia. It's amazing. This total stranger is now our great friend and we lend support to each other as we have embraced and joined not only the Bald Movement, but also Team Bobbie. A support team for Sammy Jones' mom who is ill with cancer. And Stephanie Croker of Sdotbeautyproducts and Chrissy J who made her first wig totally from locs that were donated. And soooo many more, that I now hash tag every photo of Madison with the the saying "it takes a village".
As a family we strive NOT to cover up Madison's Alopecia, but to be proactive advocates for her and this disorder. One of my greatest concerns is that we might not be able to shade her from the cruelty of this somewhat difficult world. Baldness is far from the normal acceptable qualifications of beauty as far as this society is concerned. So we encourage Madison to constantly recognize that her inner beauty is what makes her outwardly beautiful and that with or without her Crown/hat or scarf she is the epitome of beautiful. We instill in her the importance of peace and humility, cultural identification and the strength to accept the individual uniqueness in all of us.
I am proud to say that my daughter Madison has claimed the victory over her Alopecia and has come to embrace, grow and love her baldness. It has positively affected us all and made us a stronger family unit. She radiates with such joy, confidence and strength it's infectious and us around her can't help but to be stronger, happier and more confident too. Alopecia is not who she is, it's just a small part of a bigger, successful, witty little girl, who just happens to have no hair and totally rocks at being bald.