When 13-year-old Kierstin North of Pleasant Valley first started losing hair from the top of her head last year, it was kind of strange.
Fast-forward a year, and the once selfie-crazy identical twin is now completely bald and will probably never have her hair regrow due to alopecia, said her mother Tanya Schweizer.
"Although a lot of times people with alopecia often have their hair regrow and never have a problem again, Kierstin's doctor said because her's is so extreme she will probably be bald for life," her mother said.
That's why the family has set-up a GoFundMe page to help raise money not only for the rising medical bills but to be able to purchase the once bouncy teen a wig made of real hair.
"She had a hat with hair attached to sides at first," Schweizer said. "But she leaned over in school one day and it fell off and the other students have been laughing and teasing her that she has missed a lot of school."
Since then, the family has been able to gather enough money together to purchase her a real hair wig. But the growing teen will need additional wigs as she ages. The wigs can run anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000. Not an amount the family can easily afford and insurance won't cover the costs.
Asking for money hasn't been easy for the family; "embarrassing" is how Kierstin's mother puts it. And, they have received a lot of negative feedback from people online.
"I can't tell you how many people have texted or emailed saying we are trying to rip off money from people by faking my daughter's baldness," she said. "I never realized how harsh and terrible people who don't even know us could be."
The same goes for some family members who have suggested the teen buy a cheaper, fake hair-type wig.
"They are itchy and hot," her mother said. "My daughter deserves to have real hair. This isn't something she did to herself. This is an illness."
To date, she has raised about $500 of her $4,000 goal.
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