I am a mother to five beautiful little boys. My eldest are a set of 6 year old twins named Caleb and Elijah. Lucas is 4, William is 3, and Parker is one and a half. My kids have changed my life in so many ways. But this story isn’t about me. It’s about one of my

When my son Elijah was 3 years old, he started losing his hair. As a mother, I became a little freaked out. My child was not just losing little strands that we all shed on a regular basis, but was losing large chunks at a time. I went on webmd.com and started to search for causes and made an appointment with a pediatrician. When I took him into the doctor’s office, they ran a lot of tests and drew blood, trying to find the cause. Ringworm and lupus were ruled out. When all the tests came back negative, the doctor told me it was Alopecia Areata, and that it effects less then 2% of the population. She told me it’s not life threatening in any way, only cosmetic and that she had no idea what caused it. She also told me there was a 40% chance his hair might return one day. I was relieved to hear that it wasn’t life threatening, but sad for my little boy although he really didn’t grasp what was going on.

As the months went by, Elijah lost more and more hair. By his 4th birthday he was almost completely bald with the exception of a few strands of hair in the center of his head. A few months later that was gone too. He had lost every hair on his body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

Immediately after his diagnosis, I went home and researched everything I could find on Alopecia and eventually came to realize he didn’t have Alopecia Areata. He had Alopecia Universalis. What is Alopecia? It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack itself. In this case, his body is attacking its own hair follicles. What causes the immune system to do this? It is caused by an over stimulated immune system. It is not genetic. And no one in my or my husband’s family has any history of any autoimmune disorders at all.

In my research of the subject, I found that the CDC, FDA, and certain vaccine manufacturers admit to, and recognize that certain vaccines do cause and are directly related to many autoimmune disorders, including but not limited to Alopecia. It is my firm belief that my son’s affliction with Alopecia is a result of an adverse reaction to childhood vaccines. I was angry that none of the literature the doctors office gave me about the vaccines they were administering to my children, mentioned this as a possible side effect. I was under the impression that all possible side effects had to be listed. More so, when researching vaccines, I found that it does list it on the package inserts that are given to the doctors office. The doctor clearly had not bothered to read it. If she had, she would have known what a possible cause of his Alopecia was instead of telling me that there “are no known medical causes for it”.

At first Elijah didn’t seem to notice the looks he was receiving when out in public. And he didn’t understand why some kids would point and laugh at him. All he understood was that when they did it, it hurt his feelings a great deal. When someone looks different, people tend to stare and back off, make faces, or point and laugh rather then to ask questions and be kind. I can’t tell you how many times strangers have pulled me aside and asked me how much time he has left or what’s wrong with him, how much chemo has he had, and so on and so forth. My response to them is always the same. I tell them he’s perfectly fine and very healthy with a strong immune system; an immune system so strong that it is over active. In its over active state,, it attacks his hair as if it were an invader to his body. I find it rather rude when people make assumptions about my child and would much rather someone ask questions then to assume.

There are no known cures for Alopecia and it is not contagious. Some doctors have suggested I take him to a dermatologist for steroid injections because it might help stimulate hair growth. I would never allow anyone to inject my kid with steroids that are known to cause more harm then good, when he’s perfectly fine as he is. There are some homeopath and holistic healers who claim they can reverse the effects of vaccines and have seen positive results with the regrowth of hair in Alopecia cases, but we have yet to be able to be afford their treatments.

When Elijah was five, he became very aware that he looked different. He would cry to me about how he just wanted his hair to come back. It broke my heart. He said he wanted to be beautiful and was under the impression that one must have hair to achieve beauty. It didn’t help that some family members would sigh and pat his head muttering how they wished his hair would come back. He also has four brothers who all have thick heads of hair (Elijah had the thickest hair of my children when he had his.) My husband and I have gone to great lengths to teach our children that beauty is only skin deep. And with Elijah, we tell him all the time how beautiful he is. And he is. He has these amazing blue eyes and a smile that can light up a room. He loves to laugh and be silly. And if anyone’s going to have a bald head, Elijah certainly does have a perfectly well shaped noggin. He is a healthy, friendly, happy, and very active child. He’s got a beautiful face, and his personality really shines through. So yes, Elijah looks different then most children his age. But aren’t we all different from one another in some way?

I look at my son and I see one of the most beautiful creatures to ever grace this planet. He has come to accept himself as beautiful and embraces his uniqueness that sets him apart from everyone else. And that in itself, is a beautiful thing.

Jackie Smith is a Mother of five young boys who (according to them ) is the prettiest, “bestest” most awesome mommy in the world. Besides raising a big family, Jackie enjoys music, writing and crafting. She lives in Florida with her husband and children.

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