Bald Girls Do Lunch works to end isolation
Alopecia Areata, a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere. While in many cases, this does not extend beyond a few bare patches of skin, some people may face a complete loss of hair on the head, face and body. Though the disease is not physically debilitating, it can be psychologically devastating, particularly for women. Enter Bald Girls Do Lunch, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women with Alopecia Areata.
BGDL is rapidly gaining momentum nationwide as the only nonprofit specifically created for women with Alopecia Areata. Founder Thea Chassin has had Alopecia Areata since 1997 and works on helping women cope with the disease on a day-to-day basis, as there are no known cures and treatments are not imminent.
“Attending a BGDL event in Rancho Bernardo in January 2008 was a major turning point in coming to terms with my hair loss,” said San Diego resident Mary Marshall. “We now want to get the word out to women who may be feeling isolated, alone and struggling with this condition. We also want to help educate the public about Alopecia Areata, and correct the misapprehension that all bald women are undergoing chemotherapy.”
At BGDL’s next lunch, women will address a variety of issues, promote choice and freedom in being bald, and question social standards. For example, why are bald men socially accepted, while bald women are looked at as sick? Women with Alopecia Areata will be encouraged to talk openly about having the disease without embarrassment, as the group purposely meets in public places to both educate others and empower its members.
“I’m helping to promote our first San Diego event because I want to help other women who are going through what I’ve been through,” Marshall said. “On a personal level, I also want to meet other local women with Alopecia.”
While many women attend the lunches wig-free, Marshall wants attendees to know that they do not need to come with an uncovered head if they feel uncomfortable.
“I hope women will come away from our event feeling relieved,” she said. “Whether they choose to try the ‘bald look’ for themselves or not, at least they can discover that it’s not really a big deal to be seen in public bald, just as it isn’t for men.”
Bald Girls Do Lunch
- Jan. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Tio Leo’s
- 3510 Valley Centre Drive, San Diego
- $40 per person includes full lunch and a $20 tax-deductible donation to expand public awareness of women with Alopecia Areata
- RSVP required by calling (914) 584-7662 or RSVP@baldgirlsdolunch.org
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- National group puts girls on the run to self-esteem
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