On July 23rd popular photoblog Humans of New York uploaded a post of a young man holding up picture of two people: one of them with a curly blond mop of hair on his head. The young man staring into HONY creator Brandon Stanton’s camera however, is completely bald.
After reading the customary quote underneath the picture of the blue-eyed subject, HONY followers quickly realized the big-haired boy in the picture and the hairless boy presenting it are the same person.
“Alopecia is a weird disease to wrap your head around. It causes your immune system to turn against your body, and your hair falls out. I used to have a big blond fro that was a big part of my identity. It was hard to not get depressed when it disappeared. I started to think: ‘What value do I have if even my body doesn’t like itself?’ As I lost more and more hair, I kept trying to comb my remaining hair over my bald spots. Eventually I had to embrace it. On my 20th birthday, I decided that instead of having a bunch of little bald spots that I don’t like, I’m going to give myself one big one that I do like.”
The post now has 554,000+ likes on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr combined with almost 15,000 comments. Wonderfully enough, many of these comments are people sharing their own alopecia stories with words of encouragement and support for the young man who found love in his “one big” bald spot.
Read more: Alopecia Definition & Fact Sheet
Along with uplifting commentary from both men and women who cope with alopecia, the majority of the comments are filled with reassuring and supportive words from users who may not have heard of alopecia before. The likes of “handsome,””inspiring” and “you look great!” fill the discussion with such positive vibes, it’s hard to stop reading.
Alopecia is rarely at the forefront of public and mainstream conversation. It’s amazing to see it being talked about on the large-scale platform Humans of New York provides. Awareness is key in providing men and women with any type of hair loss the support they deserve, and with exposure like this, we are one step closer to ending the stigma that comes with having alopecia in a world where acceptance is hard to find.
See the original post on the Humans of New York.
Learn more about LeMetric Founder Elline Surianello’s journey with alopecia here.