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McKenna Reitz

McKenna Reitz

In November 2015 I lost all my hair due to an autoimmune disease called Alopecia. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks your hair follicles and causes your hair to fall out. Alopecia effects 7.1 million Americans and 145 million will be affected someone world wide. I will never forget standing in the shower and standing there with my hands covered with my hair. I felt as though my identity was being ripped away from me strand by strand as they fell out of my head.

I remember my mom saying to me, “God gives the strongest people the toughest challenges.” At the time I didn’t understand why God had to choose me to have this challenge because I was so focused on the problem at hand; regrowing my hair. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and lost. I couldn’t even look at my own reflection in the mirror for months on end. My mom asked me how I still got out of bed every day and I told her there was no other choice. I had two young daughters ( 3 and 5 months old at the time) who were constantly watching me, I had my students who needed me and my family to take care of.

I went to many dermatologists to do anything to grow hair again. Eventually, my body had gone through enough with the topical creams, the medicines that compromised my immune system, and weekly steroid injections into my scalp for six months, I learned that I was approaching the situation all wrong. Yes, it is natural to want to solve the problem but there must come a time when you need to become consciously aware that the problem is not the problem. The problem is the attitude about the problem. When I started to focus on my mindset about alopecia, my perspective on life completely changed. I learned that everyone is battling something. Everyone has a story. Mine just happens to be visible. I discovered the true meaning of empathy. I began to learn through my extremely vulnerable and transparent social media posts that I was having a significant positive impact on others. It was because of this that gave me a deeper purpose in life and finally understood why I blessed with having alopecia. I want to help others to transform their life’s challenges into gifts and opportunities just like I have done in my life.

Our hair is not our identity. It is our character that defines us. It is how you how you make people feel when they are in the same room as you and how they think about you after they leave that room. No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Look in that mirror and repeat after me. ” I am enough. I am worth it.” Because you are.

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