Jamia Jackson came into this world with a thick head of hair, and like any toddler, she wore ribbons and bows. However, the family was shocked at age three when her hair started falling out.
James Jackson, the father, said "I was frustrated at first, didn't want to accept it. I was blaming everything from using combs from somebody else to a perm that stayed on too long."
Before long, Jamia was completely bald. Her parents wanted people to know this was not the look of a cancer patient.
Mother, Stephanie, said "I appreciated people coming up to me and asking, so I could explain what she has…that this is another disease called alopecia."
Alopecia is an auto-immune disease, in which the body forms anti-bodies, which attack the hair follicles. This causes patches of baldness or sometimes total hair loss. It's a rare condition. It only shows up in one percent of the population, which are mostly children. The hair may or may not ever grow back.
The good news is alopecia is not life threatening, but it is life-changing. It can be psychologically traumatic as well.
Jamia is now a second grader at Wester Elementary. She says that is where her friends have accepted her, and she has learned to accept herself.
"I feel like a normal person. I feel great. I'm free to do my own thing" said Jamia.
That means free to shed the wigs that Jamia tried but didn't like.
Stephanie says the principal and others have worked hard to take the mystery out of this condition.
The best lesson for Jamia came this summer was when she went to camp. Jamia said, "I had so much fun."
Not only was she surrounded by other children just like her, but Miss Delaware took off her wig and shared her story of Alopecia.
It's that kind of therapy that Stephanie wants to keep going for Jamia. She wants to start an Alopecia Support group right here in Lubbock. She wants to help build their self-esteem while providing support and raising awareness of children with alopecia.
Body Works on 4th St. is helping Stephanie make all this possible. On October, 15th, Body Works is hosting the first support group from 1:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. For more information, call (806) 224-6401, or send an email to email@example.com
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