By Charlotte's Mom, Carla.
From the moment we knew I was pregnant with Charlotte, this beautiful girl has kept us on our toes. Her entry into the world came 5 1/2 weeks earlier than anticipated and yet she weighed a healthy 7 lbs, 6 ounces. Born on December 23rd, the running joke in our family is that she simply did not want to miss out on Christmas that year.
In November 2016, I spent a month in hospital undergoing a life-saving stem-cell transplant after an aggressive lymphoma had shown regrowth only six months after my initial six rounds of chemo. When I returned home from the hospital, it was only a few short weeks before Charlotte, who was not quite three at the time, had lost all of her hair (the silver lining: we were bald buddies!).
In Spring 2017, Charlotte was diagnosed with alopecia areata totalis. Alopecia is an auto-immune disease where, for reasons not entirely known, the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. It comes in a variety of forms: For some, it manifests as patches of bald spots, while for others, it can mean a complete loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis). Alopecia is extremely unpredictable, and while treatments are advancing rapidly, there is currently no cure for this disease.
Charlotte’s alopecia has meant a lot of talking about what makes us beautiful and also ensuring that she understands her condition and feels equipped and empowered to speak about it to others. It has also meant talking about how we ALL have differences and learning to embrace these rather than fighting them. It has meant learning empathy and compassion and putting these to practice in everyday interactions with peers and new friends. It has meant learning to smile at the awkward looks and overly long stares, boast an impressive collection of headbands and beanies, and not feel the need to cover up but to remember that ‘bald is beautiful.’
While having alopecia is certainly not always a walk in the park for Charlotte, she continues to impress us with a maturity and understanding beyond her years and deep joy and love for life that reminds us that there is always much to be thankful.
Looking back, the verse we chose to put up in Charlotte’s room before she was born is more fitting than we could have ever imagined: “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future”- Proverbs 31:25.
We want to say a huge thank you to Charlotte's mom, Carla, for sharing Charlotte's story. Recently Charlotte did a photo shoot for Peekaboo Beans, and her beautiful spirit is undeniable when looking at the photo's that were taken (see above).
Carla has been a Stylist and in the Peekaboo Beans community for several years now. Alongside her daughter, she is also one tough cookie as she is a cancer survivor!
All of us at Peekaboo Beans are grateful to have these two strong ladies as part of our Bean family and wish them all the best!
Do you know a Super Bean? We would love to share their story! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.