Does anyone know what September is? Sure, it is the month of great things like Pumpkin Spice flavored everything, the crunch of fall leaves under your feet and a cool breeze here and there to remind you how you’ll miss the summer days. However, many people do not know that September is also Alopecia Awareness Month. Alopecia Awareness Month highlights an illness known as Alopecia, also called Alopecia Areata. It is characterized by sudden hair loss from the body’s immune system attacking hair follicles, which can result in severe hair loss, patchy bald spots, and for some, self-consciousness. There are many people that are not aware of this disease, which is why people (like me!) are so in love with Shalice Ader. She is making a difference in the world by spreading the light of her love of life, confidence, and awareness of the disease that she has struggled with.
Shalice, a Hawaiian local may only be eighteen, but though her social media advocacy, has had to deal with Alopecia since she was only a year old. Alopecia occurs in roughly one in one thousand children and can persist for the rest of one’s life. Since it does not have a cure, only medical treatments are available to manage the illness. When Shalice was first diagnosed with the disease, her mother and father frantically attempted to find a cure, only to learn that one did not exist for her. As she grew up, she began adopting wigs to conform to what she understood as “normal”. Despite wearing wigs in middle school and high school, she felt a though she was hiding herself from people.
She stated, “I felt like Hannah Montana, hiding myself from people thinking that I have hair when really, I don’t.” Click to Tweet
Wigs are common and comforting to those who suffer from Alopecia, but for Shalice, she had a different perspective in mind. As a result of her insecurities and learning to move past them, she began making YouTube videos and sharing her advice with other sufferers. She stopped wearing wigs and boldly exposed her true self, shining in self-confidence and beauty with her explosive personality. Shalice states that she wanted to share herself with the world and to advocate for confidence and self-love.
She says, “We are all different and unique in our own way,” which is what drives her passion. Click to Tweet
One of Shalice’s biggest inspirations is Talia Joy, a YouTube star with childhood cancer who created popular and self-loving YouTube videos. She says, “She’s inspired me to do YouTube videos, and to just feel beautiful to be bald.”
There are many misconceptions about Alopecia, and according to Shalice, one of the biggest is being mistaken for a cancer patient. People who suffer from Alopecia often will shave their entire heads since the bald patches make it difficult to conform to normal hairstyles. It can be a difficult transition, especially with society’s present perspective of beauty. Shalice explains that Alopecia is hair loss and a tough disease, as it makes one feel like an outsider from society. We all know this to be true; when opening a magazine or website, we always see advertisements for beautiful, long, flowing hair. We are expected to believe this to be the pinnacle of beauty and confidence. However, Shalice wants to weaken that label. This is her prime reason for wanting to help and inspire others.
She wants to destroy the self-consciousness and insecurity often associated with Alopecia and instead, replace that with self-love and confidence.
Stop for a moment. How powerful is that statement? I own a swimwear company that is dedicated to designing swimwear that helps woman feel confident and beautiful and this young woman is now my mentor for self-love and confidence.
Through her powerful social media presence, Shalice wants to gain positivity and use her powerful voice to express inspiration to the world. Shalice’s main goal is to ensure anybody suffering from Alopecia or other diseases that makes one feel self-conscious that they are beautiful and should embrace themselves.
Shalice wants people who manage Alopecia to take the disease as a challenge. Instead of looking at it like a hindrance, she wants those who suffer from Alopecia to take the disease head on and not allow it to destructively influence them. She wants these individuals to stay positive, not let others cloud the mind with negative thoughts, and to simply love life. Her message is inspiring and encouraging to anybody dealing with not only Alopecia, but any illness that has an impact on one’s physical appearance. According to Shalice, beauty truly is within the soul.
Because of Shalice’s positive impact on Alopecia and her drive towards advocacy for self-love, I have been truly inspired to donate 40% of each Sadie Ray Swimwear sale for the month of September to the naaf.org, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, where their goal is to spread awareness of the illness, advocate for change, and advance research to help find a potential cure. Learn more about NAAF here <link> and how this organization wants to increase awareness of the disorder, such as by influencing schools to allow children with Alopecia to be permitted to wear hats indoors, or to help keep school a safe place for students dealing with the illness.
If you want a little light and inspiration in your life, follow this lovie, Shalice Ader here:
Rock your kini with confidence for National Alopecia Awareness Month and shop your look , 40% of each sale for September will be donated back to:
The National Alopecia Areata Foundation: www.NAAF.org