September is National Alopecia Areata Awareness Month
Heather Wesley stopped by Upper Michigan Today to share her personal experience with Alopecia.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - September is National Alopecia Areata Awareness Month.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that affects 6.8 million people in the United States.
Heather Wesley of Stephenson was diagnosed nine years ago, and her life has changed drastically since then.
She stopped by Upper Michigan Today to share her personal story and details of an inaugural fundraiser for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
But first, Tia Trudgeon and Elizabeth Peterson share stories of the day.
Now, back to alopecia areata awareness month.
Alopecia’s primary symptom is hair loss.
“Alopecia’s been a great teacher for me,” explains Wesley. “It’s really taught me about self-love and unconditional acceptance of self.”
For the first five years after her diagnosis, Wesley says she cycled through growing her hair out, only to lose it again.
Four years ago, she made the decision to accept her hair loss and shaved what little hair she had left.
“To lose that piece of your identity, and to see your appearance changing in the mirror... there’s a lot of emotions to navigate. But, it’s not all bad because you find that confidence from within.”
Wesley is on a mission to bring alopecia awareness to the Upper Peninsula.
She’s fundraising for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation’s inaugural walk online at support.naaf.org.
While there’s no cure for alopecia areata, research driven by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation has begun to identify effective treatments.
Wesley says she’s been able to find a community of people with similar experiences within the foundation.
“Visibility and representation matter so much because it shows that you’re not alone.”
And finally, Wesley shares the power of positivity on her social media channels.
You can connect with Heather Wesley on Instagram @feather_wesley or on Facebook at Heather Wesley.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, whether it be from alopecia areata or otherwise, you can reach out for a conversation.
You can watch Upper Michigan Today on weekdays at 9:00 a.m. on FOX UP or stream the show on your smart device with the TV6+ app.
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