Women with alopecia from around the globe have shared their stories with us in private and in public since the very beginning. For some, it is a cathartic experience. For others, it is a form of self care. And some women are even bald, proud and want to use their experience as a way to help others.

Here are just a few that we have permission to share. You’ll also find others on the blog. Our hope is that, in reading these, you will feel connected to women who understand your thoughts and feelings—and validate them in all forms.

Heather’s Story: Finding her “shine” again after alopecia diagnosis

Heather Mattisson’s infectious smile lights up not just her whole face, it lights up an entire room. If you met her, you’d feel her sunny warmth and energy, too. 

You’d never guess she struggles with alopecia universalis. 

A self-described adventurer, Heather lives with gusto, traveling, eating great food and enjoying time with her family. She was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis in 2005, which she thinks might have been triggered by work-related stress. 

Today she lives in Chandler, Arizona, with her husband. She credits alopecia for helping her find love. 

She discovered Bald Girls Do Lunch in 2009 after moving to Arizona. She left that first event uplifted. 

“We went to a spa in Phoenix and got pampered,” she remembers. “We laughed, talked, showed each other our wigs and head gear.”

Those connections continue to be a lifeline for Heather. 

“We help each other to move through the stages of acceptance including grief, shattered self-image and, finally, self-love rising like a phoenix.”

Alopecia Shattered Her Notion of Beauty

Believe it or not, Heather credits alopecia with making her life better and helping her feel more beautiful. 

“I was more shallow and less confident in my body and beauty before I had alopecia,” she says. “I had more self-doubt. Going through the emotional stages of alopecia and accepting that I was on a ride and didn’t know where I would end up was its own form of therapy. What it did was shatter my shallow view of beauty.”

She’s shed her outdated views about beauty and acceptance—and soared. She gives credit to the women she has met through BGDL for their compassion and willingness to share.

“It was like a window had been cleaned so that you could see the sunlight through it, bright and true.”

A Positive Twist of Fate 

Remember how Heather said alopecia played a role in meeting her husband?

“I was comfortable in my own skin,” she says. “Maybe I wouldn’t have had the confidence to be myself during our relationship, if it weren’t for what I had learned.”

“I believe the way for each of us to live brilliantly out loud with alopecia is by making connections. Through Bald Girls Do Lunch something amazing happened: I gained a support network of friends who were sharing the same experience.”

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