While 200,000 to 3 million cases of alopecia (a condition that causes hair loss) are reported every year in the United States, the rare form alopecia universalis will only affect one in 200,000 people.
Brenda Finn is one of the .0005 percent that will experience complete and total hair loss from her entire body. When Brenda was 14 years old she woke up with much of her hair shedding off.
“One night when I went to bed as normal, I got up the next morning and saw that most of my hair stayed on the pillow,” she said. It was from then on that the endless bullying began.
Bullying can be a serious issue, just as Lizzie Velasquez, who was called the “World’s Ugliest Woman,” experienced. For years she was unable to stand up for herself, but when she finally did, it was transformative.
Brenda’s self-esteem became so low that she began to suffer from agoraphobia and would refuse to leave the house. However, 16 years later, at 30 years old, Brenda is finding new confidence in her unique look.
See the rest of her inspiring story below!
h/t: Metro/Daily Mail
One day, when Brenda Finn was 14, she woke up with hair covering her pillow. When she scratched her eyebrow, the hair rubbed off.
“Mum thought I was playing a trick on her to get off school but when she realized I was telling the truth she panicked,” Brenda said. “I could tell she thought there was something seriously wrong and rushed me straight to the doctor.”
Brenda was diagnosed with alopecia universalis. All of the hair on her body progressively began to fall off.
She tried to conceal her condition with wigs, but the bullying was relentless.
“I was nicknamed ‘cancer girl,’ despite the fact I did not have cancer . My wig would be torn off my head to be used as a football or flushed down the toilet,” she recalls.
After six months of torment, Brenda switched to homeschooling. “I wasn’t learning anything at school at all anymore because the bullying dominated everything.”
It wasn’t until Brenda began working at a local nursery and later got eyebrows tattooed on, that she was able to get her confidence back.
“Working with children was a great tonic for me because they are so accepting and didn’t care a jot that I was bald. In fact they loved playing with my wigs. It did wonders for my confidence,” she says.
That’s when she volunteered to be a different kind of model.
“I saw on Twitter a tweet from Models of Diversity about them looking for individuals who would love to model for a unique show,” she said. “I loved the idea of modeling so I thought why not and replied – I was not expecting to get far.”
Brenda was personally chosen by the organizer Katie Piper.
“The show aimed to challenge the conventional catwalk using alternative models with visible differences, from burns scars to amputees,” she said.
“I never thought that I would go from being a complete recluse to being so open about my hair loss, working with it on such a scale. I live by the affirmation: ‘We were born to be real, not to be perfect,'” Brenda said.
“Looking back on everything I would not change my experiences. I am now truly confident in myself because of it. I no longer feel this need to ‘compete’ in a realm where there is an expectation of the basics of how we should look, from body weight to hair.”
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