Gianessa Wride is a 7-year-old from Salem, Utah, who has an autoimmune disease called alopecia, which leaves her completely bald. There is no cure for this condition, making life difficult for the child.
Alopecia is a disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. It typically moves quickly, but Gianessa’s was an especially aggressive form. It actually left her without hair on her scalp, without eyebrows, and without eyelashes.
Gianessa’s alopecia started as just a small bald patch on the side of her head. It quickly spread, leaving her completely bald within a month. For a little girl to lose all her hair was just devastating. This age is extremely formative when it comes to self-esteem, and Gianessa’s mom, Daniella, was worried that Gianessa would begin to feel bad about herself.
Gianessa can get steroid injections that help temporarily, but as soon as they wear off, the hair just falls back out.
Instead of having Gianessa get these temporary treatments, Daniella wants her daughter to embrace her uniqueness. She is also proactive about helping her daughter’s classmates understand what is going on. She visited Gianessa’s classroom and explained the condition. She also wanted her daughter’s classmates to be on the lookout for bullies who may try to bring her Gianessa down.
Because of this, her classmates have largely been supportive of her.
Recently, her school celebrated “crazy hair day,” where children were encouraged to come to school with their wildest hair designs. Obviously, this was going to exclude Gianessa. But Daniella came up with a great solution that allowed the little girl to be part of the fun.
The first grader and her mother decided to make it “crazy head day.” While they were browsing in a local craft store, Daniella got a terrific idea. They bought little jeweled stickers to put on Gianessa’s head. They were in the shape of butterflies, flowers, and more. It made the little girl stand out in a very positive way.
Despite her good relationship with her classmates, Gianessa was worried when she and her mother were planning this crazy look. She was afraid that her friends would think it looked stupid. It turned out, however, that her friends completely loved it. They all thought the design looked incredibly cool and were envious of her cute stickers. Instead of making fun of her, everyone wanted to look just like her!
Not only did her classmates love the way she looked, but the internet did, too. The pictures quickly went viral with people all over the word complimenting Gianessa on her appearance.
More than just being a wonderfully creative idea, this shows how people everywhere should embrace their differences—not try to hide them. Too often we view our differences as something to be ashamed of. It would be easy for Gianessa to feel this way, but she doesn’t. Instead, she’s proud of the way she looks.
People everywhere could learn an important lesson from this child. Even though she’s just 7 years old, her positive attitude is something we can all learn from. We just love her spirit and think her “crazy head” looks perfectly adorable!