NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Alopecia is thought to affect nearly 2 percent of all Americans.
It is an auto-immune disease that causes hair loss and affects men and women of all ages.
Over the weekend, one recent high school graduate got a very special gift to help her deal with the alopecia she has had since childhood. Lexie Barker’s best friend, Katiee Corrado, gave Barker a box full of her own hair that she can use for a new wig. Corrado gave the gift to Barker at her graduation party.
“I mean, I have heard like a year ago ‘one of these days I am going to cut my hair off for you.’ And now it is here and I didn’t think it would be on my graduation party day,” Barker said.
Corrado had 10 inches of her hair cut off.
“She deserves it because she can’t grow her hair and I can,” she said.
Corrado gave Barker another ponytail several years ago. The girls hope they can someday have a wig made entirely from Carrado’s hair.
Corrado said it has been hard to watch her best friend get picked on because of her hair for so long. She wishes people would be more accepting of differences.
“It has been really hard for her growing up with the bullying and kids just being really ignorant,” Corrado said. “It is not right that today in society, that is how kids are raised and nothing is really done about it.”
Corrado and Barker became best friends almost five years ago, when Corrado was a senior in high school.
“I met her in band and she actually became my freshman,” Corrado said.
Corrado was Barker’s mentor, but Barker was Corrado’s inspiration.
“One day she actually went and stood up in front of the entire band and told them she had alopecia. And during band camp, you wouldn’t see her with a wig,” Jody Barker said.
Jody also has alopecia.
“She actually has more confidence than I do. She can put herself out there. She does not care. She just walks out on the porch, no hair, she doesn’t care. Whoever looks at her, who cares. Hair is hair and she is beautiful the way she is,” Jody Barker said.
The surprise gift was revealed after a video of some of Corrado’s and Barker’s favorite memories.
“I can’t even describe it. It is awesome. I have one of her ponytails already and now I have another one. And my whole wig is going to be her now and that is awesome,” Barker said.
The gift also contained a message from Corrado to Barker.
“Just live for the little things and don’t take so much things to heart. Because no matter what anyone else says, there is still beauty and hair does not define you.”
As for Barker, she knows how much the gift means to her.
“I can’t believe it. I have a good friend,” she said.