I admit it, I am a huge Olympics groupie! I watch as many events as I possibly can from the swimming, track and field (my favorite), diving, gymnastics, water polo, and even the synchronized swimming (I honestly think it is really cool to watch). It's not just the sporting events that pull me in; I love the opening and closing ceremonies, the medal ceremonies (I often cry), and especially the behind the scenes stories of the athletes. So it comes as no surprise that I was extremely touched by the story of one of the cyclists. When I was checking on the latest news in the alopecia world, I came across the story of Joanna Roswell, a member of Britain's Olympic cycling team and a favorite to win gold. She also has alopecia and has been losing hair since the age of 10. At the age of only 23, she was able to get up in front of the world and accept medals with her teammates with no wig on.
This story inspired me for many reasons. I was only a couple of years younger when all of my hair fell out and there were times I had a hard time leaving the house with my wig on, let alone stand in front of the whole world with no wig. I would be in constant fear of whether or not people could tell I was wearing wig, if people would ask me about it, or, worse, if they would comment behind my back about it. In many ways, I gave my early 20's to alopecia. I lost my confidence and a lot of my self-worth.
So, when I read Joanna's story, I was immediately inspired. She was the type of woman I wished I could have been and the inspiration to others I wanted to be but never had the strength. She did more than just not wear her wig; she reminded all people dealing with hair loss that there is so much more to us than just a head of hair and there is life beyond our alopecia. And I can say pretty confidently that her alopecia was not defining her up on that podium. So I would like take the opportunity to say to Joanna and all of the other women out there who are brave enough to go wig-less, you go girls! I will try and remember to wear my bald spots with a little more pride. :)
If you want to read more about Joanna, click here.