About Our Mission & Founder
Bald Girls Do Lunch is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicating to improving the quality of life for the women today and to inspiring the women of tomorrow living with alopecia areata.
By bringing them together at lunches, dinners and events where they can meet others who are living with autoimmune disease (often for the first time in their lives), we strive to enhance self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of community while also increasing their capacity to effectively manage the various aspects of living with alopecia areata.
Furthermore, we seek to improve the acceptance of bald women nationally and internationally by increasing public awareness, knowledge and understanding of alopecia areata. We educate with resources for coping, talking and answering common questions and concerns.
We foster healthy living with practical tips for talking about alopecia areata and provide real world experiences.
|*Photo credit to Laurie DeWitt|
Thea Chassin has had alopecia areata (universalis) since 1997 and has had extensive experience as a support leader. Chassin holds degrees in health fields from both the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and New York University. A passionate and articulate role model for alopecia, Chassin is interviewed regularly for major newspapers; public radio stations, appeared in the Canadian documentary “Vanity Insanity” and in MedStarTV productions’ “Bald Girls Do Lunch”. She was featured in the July, 2009 Today Show segment “Bald Girls Do Lunch – Bald is Beautiful”. She had two brief episodes of a single, localized patch of alopecia areata a decade apart which resolved quickly. She has had near total loss of scalp hair and eyebrows within the last 12 years without regrowth and intermittent loss of eyelashes. There is no one else in her family with the condition.
Thea has a life-long dedication to quality of life issues. As a physical therapist and later as a lighting designer improving visual environments, Thea brings forward thinking and solution oriented skills to the everyday challenges of alopecia areata. At the same time, she acknowledges that unique circumstances influence each person’s individual situation.
She recognized from listening to women like herself in the US, Canada and from as far away as Spain and Australia that while millions of women around the world have alopecia areata, too many of them feel completely alone with it. From her alopecia support group work with men, women and children in New York State, she could see that many women would shy away from a formal discussion group, but were eager to get together over an informal lunch. From that beginning, the Bald Girls Do Lunch network was created as the first non-profit support organization devoting all its resources to the emotional and practical needs of women with alopecia areata.
Thea feels passionately that no woman should ever feel alone with this condition. She has heard and experienced first-hand the common themes of worry and self-consciousness. She understands the inevitable evolution that women of all ages go through to live with the challenges of this condition. She’s a keen listener and caring educator for women who struggle to discuss their condition with friends and family. She has creative and individualized advice for ways to handle and overcome the emotional and practical issues of alopecia areata whether pertaining to private or public adjustments. Often, women have more choices than they realize and Thea helps them explore what they are. She has the unique ability to help women face to face while also tackling the larger social issues surrounding female baldness.
Regarding the big societal picture, “I’m devoted to doing my part to help break down the taboos about it being okay for men to be bald but not women,” Chassin says.
“Who’s in the driver’s seat?” is her call to action. “If women with alopecia areata are going to live successful and contented lives, shouldn’t they be holding the wheel? Meeting other women with the same condition is one of the most effective and easy ways to ease the emotional burden and strengthen personal resilience.”
|“It’s an absolute joy to help women with alopecia areata find others who live nearby.
At last, they get the chance to talk freely about things they’ve never discussed with anyone”