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No, She Doesn’t Have Cancer

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No, She Doesn’t Have Cancer

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Lila Clark: An actress, director, gymnastics instructor, dry humor enthusiast, and a beautiful, intelligent soul. She also happens to have alopecia.

Alopecia areata is a rare condition (only about 2% of individuals in the United States are diagnosed) in which the diagnosed often lose patches of both head and body hair, and in some cases, all hair on the body is completely lost. Individuals are usually diagnosed with alopecia as a result of family history and genetics; it cannot be obtained by means of lifestyle or habits. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where the body is unable to recognize its own hair cells which can result in destruction of the hair follicle. The condition is untreatable; however, individuals often receive cortisone injections in the scalp to slow hair loss and speed hair regrowth. Luckily, the condition solely affects hair follicles and has no other harmful effect on the body or life expectancy.

Lila was diagnosed with alopecia during her freshman year at Magnet, in which her initial reaction was “well, this sucks.” Her doctor “reassured” her, however, that she would most likely only lose a few unnoticeable patches of hair on her head. To aid hair growth, her doctor encouraged her to begin getting shots of cortisone in her scalp monthly. She stated that she received about 40-70 shots in her head per visit per month, which quickly got old. She noticed the shots weren’t helping her hair grow back, so she decided the periodic needles to the head were not worth it. The summer before her junior year, all the hair on her head had completely fallen out, but the next winter, her hair grew into a short, cute pixie cut for seemingly no reason.

The following May, however, her hair fell out completely once again in the span of about two weeks. Lila then purchased a high quality wig which cost her around $2,000, which she wore for a while but then realized she was putting on the wig to make others feel more comfortable as opposed to wearing it for herself. She decided to stop wearing it, but she’s still glad she has such a high quality wig so she can wear it for characters in show productions.

Lila says her favorite perk of her condition is that she never has to shave her legs again because they are constantly hairless and smooth. Her least favorite part, however, is that she has to draw her eyebrows on every morning, but that doesn’t stop them from looking fly as heck. She also stated that her least favorite comment she gets often is “Do you have cancer? Are you okay?” No, she does not have cancer, and yes, she is okay. Her most memorable comment, by far, came from one of her fellow classmates when he asked: “How often do you have to shave it? Or do you get laser treatment?” No, she does not have to shave it, and no, she does not get laser treatment. She just doesn’t grow hair, but it’s just one of the many qualities that makes her Lila, and she rocks it.

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