Tabitha was just two years old when she was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis.
Alopecia is an autoimmune condition which affects the hair follicles resulting in significant hair loss. Although there are many types of hair loss, Tabitha has Alopecia Universalis, a condition which affects less than 2% of the population. Alopecia Universalis, unlike other forms of Alopecia, affects all the hair on the body. This has left Tabitha with no hair on her head, no eyelashes and no eyebrows. Nothing.
Tabitha started high school this year. Whilst most kids are worried about making new friends and getting lost finding their new classrooms, Tabitha worries about how the kids in her class will react to her hair loss. Tabitha’s confidence and perseverance has always prevailed in such challenges. After experiencing a decade of total hair loss before turning 12, Tabitha grew accustomed to the inquisitive stares, the questions and the confusion. She takes this all in her stride, understanding that the kids in her class are simply curious.
However, Alopecia isn’t always easy. The extra-long stares from other kids (or adults) isn’t what brings out the cracks in Tabitha’s brave face. Having to learn how to navigate the little everyday hurdles is what challenges Tabitha’s resourcefulness. As the other girls in her class are learning to put on mascara and makeup, Tabitha is figuring out how to apply fake eyelashes and use temporary tattoo eyebrows. On swimming carnival day, Tabitha is putting on her wig grip to make sure her wig doesn’t fall off in the water.
Although Tabitha’s condition is considered quite rare, 1 in every 1000 children will experience some form of Alopecia. Currently, there’s no scientifically-backed cure for Alopecia. However, that doesn’t mean there aren't solutions.
In 2019, Tabitha got in touch with Lusta Hair. Tabitha received her first ever wig from Lusta Hair. Lusta Hair provides free wigs for children with medically-diagnosed hair loss through the Lusta Children’s Project which is funded by the founder, Kimberly Di Benedetto.
The Lusta Children’s Project is open to applicants aged 4-17 living in Australia. The Project is for kids with various forms of hair loss, including, alopecia, chemotherapy-induced hair loss and trichotillomania. Through this program, Lusta Hair is on a mission to change the lives of kids like Tabitha. Unlike most faceless wig companies, Lusta Hair is different as it was birthed as a result of Kimberly’s own experience with losing her hair, and each piece is designed for women with hair loss.
Holly Faller, who works with Lusta Hair, relates to Tabitha’s story all too well. Holly lost all her hair to Alopecia when she was just 6 years old. Now, at 32, she has the opportunity to create the perfect wigs for kids growing up with the same condition as her. Holly has worn wigs since her diagnosis at 6 years old. However, she hated the wigs she wore. They were itchy, uncomfortable, would fall off in the slightest of breeze and didn’t look realistic. Now, Holly is on a mission to change all that. She’s creating wigs that are super comfortable, easy to wear and look ultra-realistic. The perfect wig to keep up with every child’s life.
Tabitha’s journey ahead is uncertain. Alopecia is an unpredictable condition. Hair can grow back over time, or, hair loss might be something Tabitha deals with for the rest of her life. No matter what, Tabitha’s positive outlook and determination will get her through.