OLIVIA RUSK, TEEN MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER - Olivia's Cause
Olivia's Story
 
When Olivia was born on January 28, 1997, she had a full head of baby blond hair. She was often dressed in the latest, little girl fashions including hair clips and bows.
 
 
When Olivia was 18 months old, her hair loss began with a small circular spot that suddenly appeared. Within days she had several more 'spots' without hair.
 
Olivia's mom rushed her to her doctor and was told that Olivia had developed alopecia, an auto-immune condition that causes hair loss. It is a medical mystery that affects over 5 million people in the United States. The doctor could not predict if Olivia would lose all of her hair or if the spots would regrow. Over the next several weeks, Olivia's hair loss rapidly continued and within 4 weeks she was totally bald.
 
Devastated, Olivia's mom took Olivia to several other doctors, who tried numerous treatments. Finally a combination of a topical steroid and Women's Rogaine was used and Olivia's hair began to regrow.
 
By age 4, Olivia had most of her hair back. When she entered 1st grade Olivia looked like all of the other little girls and everyone felt that Olivia's alopecia was in the past.
 
Unfortunately, when Olivia was in 3rd grade her hair loss began again. It was apparent that Olivia was, once again, losing all of her hair.
 
Concerned about the possible side affects of the long term use of such strong topical medications, it was decided that Olivia should have a custom hair system made instead.
 
At 8 years of age, Olivia liked the idea of 'picking out' new hair. She was able to select the color and length that she wanted.
 
Olivia's mom felt that the hair system was the perfect solution to Olivia's hair loss.
With it, she would 'fit in' and once again, look like all the other little girls in 3rd grade.
 
It took 8 weeks to create Olivia's hair system and it was truly amazing. Olivia received it while she was on Christmas break and when she returned to school, most of the other students did not realize that Olivia was wearing a 'wig'.
 
One child actually said, "WOW, your hair grew a lot". 
 
At first Olivia loved her new hair. But as time went by, she began to have issues with the adhesive that was needed to attach her hair
system. It was a lot of maintenance for a child her age.
 
Olivia also, liked to run and play and her new hair was hot and itchy. One morning Olivia woke up and announced that she was going to school without her wig. Since her classmates had seen Olivia with hair, over the past 5 months, Olivia's mom was concerned that the other kids would be shocked if she arrived at school totally bald.
 
But Olivia was determined that was what she wanted to do. She felt that she was "hiding who she was". She liked the comfort and ease of just being bald. So at 8 years of age, Olivia bravely marched into her 3rd grade classroom without hair.
 
Ironically, nothing bad happened. The teacher explained Olivia's situation to the other students and they were just fine with Olivia's decision.
 
 
That day changed Olivia's life forever.
 
 
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