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Alopecia Areata: The shame and embarrassment of this disease devastates the lives of too many women and girls when treatments do not work. Since 2007 Bald Girls Do Lunch has connected with over 3,000 to restore self-confidence and conquer isolation. With requests for meet-ups in every state and beyond the USA, Bald Girls is answering the plea for women to find others for community and support. From intimate groups to style workshops to restoring her looks, BGDL puts women on the track to normalcy and living well with this disease. Learn more...

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An Interview With Mavis Jackson

“Life Is Good Living With Alopecia” — An Interview With Mavis Jackson

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This is the first in a series of interviews of women living with alopecia areata.

Mavis Jackson is a chemical dependency counsel from Houston, Texas, and the proud mother of five and grandmother of eight. She first discovered she had alopecia areata in 2007.

“At the time I was wearing my hair braided, which means I had extra hair added to it; I had long braids. And when I got ready to take the braids out, I lifted up part of them and I saw this big bald spot in the front my head!

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“I was getting ready to take the LCDC [Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor] exam, and you know, I just didn’t have time to deal with whatever it was that would clear it up. So I just kept going and going. [Eventually] I went to the doctor and she immediately looked at my head and said, ‘It’s alopecia.’ I said, ‘What IS that?’ Then I said ‘Why?’ And she said, ‘We don’t know.’

“Knowing the importance of support, I went to the Internet and I looked up alopecia areata to get a better understanding of what was going on with me, and then I proceeded to look at support. And in my research I found Bald Girls Do Lunch. But in October of 2007, I was a wreck. The one thing that I teach clients is that when you suffer a loss, you have to allow yourself time to grieve that loss. I had not practiced what I preach.

“By November of 2007, I decided to go and get my head shaved for the first time. I went to a barbershop – [the barber] was very, very understanding. He had the shop cleared out when he got ready to shave my head. And my daughter was there with me to hold my hand, and it was a very, very emotional moment for me. Very emotional… And I shave my head myself these days! [laughs]

“I had a woman in the mall walk up to me and say, ‘You know, everybody can’t wear that, but you are wearing that sister,’ and I was like, ‘Well, thank you!’ [laughs]

“Things like that are what build you up. That way, when things happen that aren’t quite so funny, they don’t just totally tear you down. You accept that it’s coming along with the territory. My experience has been growing, enlightening, and sometimes funny.”

Mavis Jackson was interviewed by Joanna Zelman. Ms Zelman is the Green Editor for The Huffington Post and author of “Uncle Morty’s Funeral”

To read the full-length interview with Mavis Jackson, click here.