Restoring Precious Smiles:
Stories of children helped by Wigs for Kids
Age 7, Cause: Burns
Teeba is a little girl who was born in Iraq, and as a nineteen-month-old, survived a car-bombing that killed her father and brother. Little Teeba's face, head and hands were scorched by the explosion. The cartilage of her ears was burned off, and second-degree burns on her scalp ensured that much of her hair would never grow again. Because of a print article that received international acclaim, her case came to the attention of her future adoptive mom in the United States.
Unfortunately some people can be very cruel - they would stare and point. As she got older, kids shunned her and told her she looked scary. People asked her family, "Can't you do something about her face?" She grew her remaining hair long, but it wasn't enough to hide the large patches of bald, burned skin. By age 4, it was nearing time for Teeba to start school, and her parents worried that other children would make fun of her.
Through an almost unbelievable set of circumstances, Teeba was treated by a burn specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in the United States. Her face and scalp are blotched by thick, raised burn scars. A few wispy patches of dark hair remain on her otherwise bald head.
With the help of a revolutionary skin-grafting procedure, 8-year-old Teeba has endured 12 surgeries aimed at improving her appearance. Like most young ladies her age, she is becoming more aware of her looks. Future procedures will reconstruct the missing cartilage and tissue of her ears, even out her eyebrows, and smooth the remaining scar tissue on her face and hands.
"The thing she wants more than anything, that she cries about daily, is having hair," her mother, Barbara, says. Fortunately, that is what we do best at Wigs for Kids.
Age 11, Cause: Alopecia
Sam is a bright, positive and energetic boy growing up in Oklahoma. He is the kind of boy who, in the process of being diagnosed, told his doctor that when he grows up, he wants to be “the President of the United States and put Dr. Pepper in every water fountain.” Then, when he is done being president, he would like to work at CVS Pharmacy.
Sam’s mom reflects on his illness and their experience with Wigs for Kids:
I remember how hurtful some of the snickers, stares, and comments would be as other children and adults would notice Sam had no hair. Not only did they hurt Sam, but they also hurt his sister's, brother's and his parents' feelings. No one likes to see their child ridiculed, especially for something they have no control over. I remember searching online for wigs for children. We were so blessed to come across Wigs for Kids and very impressed with everyone we spoke with. Sam was so excited when he learned he was "CHOSEN" to receive a wig.
I remember the anticipation, as Sam would ask daily, "Did it come today, Mom?" Everyone seemed to be anxiously awaiting his new wig. I also remember the day we took him to have it cut and styled. Seeing Sam so excited brought instant tears of joy to the eyes of my husband and me. As Sam has grown, his self-esteem regarding his permanent hair loss has greatly improved. He will share with his friends about the disease he has and why he lost his hair.
He is an inspiration to all who know him and to those who also face challenges in their lives. Thank you so much for providing Sam with that extra "boost" of encouragement when he so desperately needed it. Now he actively provides encouragement to others. Your organization played an integral part in shaping our confident, eleven-year-old, Sam.
Age 9, Cause: Cancer
Nine-year-old Nikki has a smile that can brighten up a room in seconds. She’s a little shy and soft-spoken and hides a bit of mischief behind the twinkle in her eyes. Nikki also fought a disease whose treatment resulted in hair loss. It was one more obstacle to overcome for a child already fighting the good fight.
Nikki wanted hair—and not just any hair, but hair that would make her look herself again. Nikki’s mom, who never left her side at the hospital, noted, “Nikki has said to me that she can endure the pain of the disease and the treatment, but she cannot endure the pain of losing her hair.
Working with her family and her case-workers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Wigs for Kids created a hair system for Nikki that not only gave her back her look, but restored her identity and self-esteem. With that renewed confidence and hope, Nikki courageously underwent a bone marrow transplant, and today is cancer-free.
Age 10, Cause: Alopecia
Renee was six years old when her hair started to fall out. She then lost all of her eyelashes. By the time she was nine, she had no body hair at all. We decided to home school Renee to protect her. Before she received her hair piece, she never left home without a hat on. She was very self-conscious about being bald. It's been very difficult for her as a little girl. Before the Alopecia, people would constantly compliment her on her thick, wavy hair and long, dark eyelashes. Renee has shed many tears over losing her hair, and it's been very difficult dealing with questions and stares.
We were so excited when we found out about Wigs for Kids. Renee could not wait to get her hair piece. Mom and Dad both cried when we saw her with her new hair. Renee is much more confident now that she has hair! We are so thankful for Wigs for Kids!
Age 16, Cause: Alopecia
Lexie is a beautiful young lady who has dealt with Alopecia since she was three years old, but in the past six months, has become 95% bald. At a time of life when other girls are concerned about how to “fine-tune” their appearance, Lexie is worried about just having hair.
“I have been losing hair off and on for fourteen years,” says Lexie. “About six months ago, I lost all of it, even body hair. I went in and out of doctors for many years and tried just about every treatment including IV therapy and about 150 shots twice a week on my head for many, many months. We found out about Wigs for Kids, and luckily through someone’s generosity, I was able to receive a wig. I love it!”
She adds, “I’m just grateful that I can get a real hair wig so that I can curl it for special occasions like Junior Prom.” Lexie’s whole attitude is a little reminder to each of us that the simple things in life can be so important.
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