I had the pleasure of meeting with International Runway Model, Pierre McCleary and getting to know what she does for the community. In August of 2022, she founded a non-profit organization Hats Off Alopecia. “This idea came from God everything came from God” is her statement.
I was not prepared for this bold, beautiful, and powerful woman to show up for this interview in her truth unmasked. Her presence was a force to reckon with. Yet she was kind, caring, and compassionate about bringing awareness to this movement.
“It is bigger than Jada Pinkett. It deserves to be talked about more than 30 days out of the year. I want to create my own way to deal with Alopecia every day of the year. I want to break down barriers. I do not want to follow others. I want to follow my own path. I want a proclamation, so that I can announce my own date and time for my “Hats Off Alopecia” fashion show. This topic and others such as black history and suicide prevention should be discussed 365 days a year. And it is just as important as cancer.”
“I do not want my hair to grow back. My hair loss has helped me to find my true identity. I am a much stronger woman. I want to be free, and I want to live my life boldly being bald. I want to create my own way.”
Pierre is hoping to bring awareness into the communities and into schools nationwide. She is in search of a professional grant writer to help her to develop relationships and to collaborate with key stakeholders. She would like to provide a camp for children, mentorship, suicide prevention, teach intervention skills and techniques, and social skills.
There is no cure for alopecia areata, but there are treatments that help hair grow back more quickly. Many years ago, Pierre noticed patches of hair loss in her head the size of a dime during this time she was modeling, and she wanted to normalize Alopecia and bring awareness to it. This is a quiet condition that has no cure. During the Pandemic she started using different types of herbs, ginger, supplements, and holistic approaches. These solutions may work if you see any hairs on your scalp—no matter how sparse, thin, short or fuzzy—your hair follicles are still alive and kicking and sprouting new hairs.
Alopecia areata is a disease that happens when the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss. Hair follicles are the structures in skin that form hair. While hair can be lost from any part of the body, alopecia areata usually affects the head and face. Hair typically falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter, but in some cases, hair loss is more extensive. Most people with the disease are healthy and have no other symptoms.
More than 200,000 new cases emerge each year in the United States. Although alopecia areata can develop in patients of any age, it typically occurs in people under the age of 40.
The course of alopecia areata varies from person to person. Some have bouts of hair loss throughout their lives, while others only have one episode. Recovery is unpredictable too, with hair regrowing fully in some people but not others.
The mom of a 12-year-old said her daughter died by suicide after alopecia-related bullying
Nicole Ball claims her daughter was bullied multiple times.
“She had alopecia, which is an autoimmune disease that made her body attack her hair follicles and made her hair fall out…She started this school year with a wig, a beautiful wig. Within the first few weeks, kids were ripping it off her head. In front of the whole class…Would smack her upside the head in the hallway,” Ball said.
Ball said she addressed the bullying with a social worker and counselor. “And I asked them specifically ‘please contact the parents. I do not know if that happened. There was no follow up and three weeks later here we are,” Ball said.”
- We visit our elected officials’ offices at home and in Washington, DC, to keep our lawmakers informed and urge them to take action for the benefit of all those affected by this disease. Those interested in being a Legislative Liaison are encouraged to email Gary Sherwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-472-3780.
- We advocate for children by providing information to schools to reduce bullying and relax restrictive dress codes that prevent a student with alopecia areata from wearing a hat or scarf.
- We advocate on behalf of individuals who feel themselves unseen and their voice unheard.