Georgia Lucas: a letter to my campus

Georgia Lucas- Contributing Writer

I remember the day clearly. It was July 2003. I was six years old.

I ran out of the house, tears rolling down my cheek, a clump of hair in my hand. At this stage in life, my hair had been falling out of my scalp in clumps.

And I didn’t understand why.

My brother Bo, who was working in the yard, was responsible for taking care of me during the summer when my parents went to work. That day, he came over to me and wiped my tears away. He did his best to comfort me, but how do you explain to your little sister that her hair is falling out because of an autoimmune disease? Not knowing how to explain, he took me inside and fixed me a snack. Looking back, this moment is one of the few from that time period that I fully remember.

This incident occurred nearly 15 years ago. If you see me walking around campus today I am almost completely bald, with a bit of peach fuzz across my head, and I’m still unsure why this happened to me.

What I want you to know is this: I don’t have cancer and I didn’t shave my head. I, at age four, was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Areata is not contagious, nor is it genetic. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. Essentially, my body attacks my hair follicles because it thinks they are ‘bad.’ The disorder is likely my body’s response to a vaccination I received as a child, though there are no real answers as to why this happened to me. While some treatments are available, the stage at which this disorder has progressed in my body makes it unlikely that any

potential cure will work.

Doctors have told me that my hair will probably not come back. I will likely live with Alopecia Areata for the rest of my life.

This disorder has changed my life, not only in a physical sense but also spiritually. I have learned that it is easy to question God’s actions, but sometimes harder to accept His plan. Yet I have grown tremendously through this experience and seen it used to bring honor and glory to Christ. I am also surrounded by a great support team who sticks with me especially in times of transition, from moments when I hate Alopecia Areata to moments when I thank God for letting me be a light for His kingdom because of this disorder.

I am especially thankful for my parents, Mark and Betsy Lucas, because I know they struggled to see their child go through something like this. In speaking about her reaction to this disorder, my mom said, “The day I realized I would be raising my only daughter without hair (in a society focused on physical appearance) I had a moment of complete emotional breakdown.”

Even in that time of hardship, though, my mom and dad remained strong. They were steadfast through it all so that I could be.

“While my daughter (then age 6) slept in the backseat of the car, I made peace with God [and said] that I was going to respond in a Christ-like biblical manner,” said my mom.

“After that day of silent tears running down my face, I was done crying and ready to help my daughter face the challenge of a life without hair from a biblical perspective. She is beautiful to me and to God and that he looks at the heart not the

outward appearance.”

I want you to know that I am not writing this out of pity for myself, nor to make you feel sympathy towards me. I’m sharing this to inform you of my condition. I’m so thankful to be part of Dordt College’s amazing community, and since being a student here I’ve made many life-long friends who have accepted me for who I am. I don’t always talk about my condition because it is very much a part of who I am, but if you have questions please ask. I can’t promise I will have all the answers because it is a complex condition with a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of things I don’t understand. Yet I hope that you now have insight into the condition I have: Alopecia Areata.

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