To those who know her, she is Whitney Ormsby, a sophomore studying art. Those who do not know her refer to her as “the tall bald girl” or “the girl with cancer” and to some, she is shaving her head to make a fashion statement, but the truth about Ormsby is that she has alopecia.
Ormsby was diagnosed with alopecia when she was 7 years old.
According to the National Areata Foundation, “alopecia is a common autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and can progress to total scalp hair loss or complete body hair loss.”
It is hereditary. Her dad has it, too.
It began with the loss of small patches and by eleven she had lost almost all her hair.
Ormsby said It was a hard time for her. Being a teenager who wants to be part of the crowd, hair loss was not easy. Kids at school made fun of her. There were days when Ormsby did not want to go to school.
“I wanted to be the same as everyone else and here I was having this thing that made me stand out,” Ormsby said.
In 2008 Ormsby decided to get a wig. Her sister encouraged her not to get it. Ormsby’s sister was willing to shave her head.
It was then that she realized she has to embrace who she is. She decided not to cover her head.
Ormsby would love to have hair, but she knows it is something that will not happen for her and she is OK with that.
Unlike most girls, she does not have to shave her legs.
Having alopecia has played a role in building and strengthening Ormsby’s testimony. She said alopecia is a big part of who she is and that it has helped her to trust in the Lord’s timing and plan.
“[God] gave it to me because I can handle it,” Ormsby said.
There are days when it is harder than every other day. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but she thinks that she is who she is now because of the disease.
“It is a big part of who I am, I am not alopecia, I am still Whitney,” she added.
Her mom has taught her that it does not matter what she looks like. She is a daughter of God and He loves her.
Ormsby said it gets to a point where people around her even forget that she has not hair and would ask her for hair ties. She is able to laugh at herself in those situations.
Alopecia has affected Ormsby’s dating life. She thinks that there are both negative and positive sides to it.
She is a friendly person with a lot of guy friends, but not many dates.
“I kind of like that about myself because then I know when I find the right person, I would know he likes me for who I am; not what I look like,” Ormsby said.
To her, alopecia is helping weed out the bad guys from the good. She believes that it may be part of why Heavenly Father gave it to her.
She said she is fine with being unique. She does not care to wear make to cover . To her there is no point.
“I look great right now so it’s pointless,” said Ormsby.
She hardly gets sick because of the disease. She said she is always healthy, but she gets asked a lot if she has cancer.