Humans of New York


“I have two sons with the same condition. But Connolly had the toughest road, because he’s the oldest. And he had to figure everything out himself. I think it was around 4th grade when kids started calling him ‘Baldy’ on the playground. Some days he’d come home crying and say things like: ‘‘I miss my hair.’ That’s when the mama bear would come out. I wanted to fix the problem so badly. I knew a couple of the kids who were responsible, so I wanted to go to his school and speak to them. Never in a punitive way, but just to give them some information. But every time I offered, Connolly would tell me that it wasn’t necessary. He’s always been so self-assured, so he’d promise me that he was OK. His mind changed on the day when he wasn’t picked for a team at recess. He’s one of the most athletic kids in his class, so he knew it was for other reasons. And on the way home from school, he told me: ‘I’m ready for you to come in now.’ We worked together to make a presentation. There were four different classes in his fourth grade, and we gave a speech to each of them. We stood up there together. I spoke first because I wanted to get out a few key pieces of information: ‘Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where your body rejects your hair. It’s not cancer. And it’s not contagious.’ But after that we’d open it up to questions, and that’s when Connolly took over. He’s such an outgoing kid. He started calling on all his friends. And wouldn’t you know—the kids who had picked on him were the ones raising their hands the highest. After that day, all the negative comments stopped. He finished elementary school without an issue, and he’s moving on to middle school with a strong group of advocates. My main worry now is his younger brother Damon, who just started kindergarten. He’s a bit more reserved than Connolly. He’s so sensitive and tender in that little boy way. And one day he came home crying because one of the kids had called him ‘Baldy.’ Connolly walked over, put his arm around Damon, and said: ‘Don’t worry, you’re just dealing with people who don’t understand.’ Then he turned to me and said: ‘I think it’s time we all gave an alopecia talk to Damon’s class.’” via Tumblr