HOUSTON, TX - Two years ago, Amiyah Coleman was diagnosed with alopecia when she was just 7 years old. As a result, some of her classmates began teasing her over her looks as the condition, which occurs when large clumps of hair fall out when a patient's immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, worsened. She was called "grandma" and she says she felt she looked more like a boy than a girl.
Eventually all her hair fell out and the her mother, Teferra Fritz, says the bullying escalated, with her school doing little to help. Fritz explained, "On the school bus they would pull her hats off when she did wear them. Her headbands, throw them across the bus."
Then Amiyah and her mother found Houston hairstylist Crystal Mercier. Crystal's sister, Dena, died from breast cancer in 2009. In her final months, Dena struggled with her confidence. Mercier remembers Dena saying, "When she began to lose her hair, she became very depressed. Before she died she said, 'Sister, you can show people who I am.'"
She says Dena's death helped her realize her purpose in life, saying, "I promised her I would give her, and others like her, who feel bad about themselves the opportunity to feel good because it rebuilds confidence, it restores self esteem, and it does something for me."
We think Amiyah is beautiful with or without hair, but we're so glad she has her confidence back.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a hair replacement can contact Christal Mercier at hairdreamsbychristal.org or by phone at 281-830-3497