Hair loss of any kind is devastating, but it is perhaps most upsetting when the root cause is completely untreatable. Imgur user GeniusesGoingWheee, whose real name is Samantha, suffers from alopecia areata, which is a disease that results in patchy areas on the scalp.
Though we all know how harsh Internet citizens can be when people reveal their true selves, Samantha bravely exposed her alopecia on Imgur in a plea for help. Along with a link to her GoFundMe page, she shared her heart-wrenching story.
"I try and keep a positive attitude and smile as much as possible," she said. "But sometimes it's really hard. It's really easy to get down on yourself when you look in the mirror and don't have any hair." Diagnosed in 2007 with the illness, Samantha was so disheartened by her patchy mane that she ended up shaving her head in 2013.
However, this look took a toll on her self-confidence, and she became exhausted by the constant questions about her bald pate. Samantha began the arduous process of trying to get a wig, or "full cranial prosthesis," covered by her health insurance. Months later, she was approved — and she cried tears of joy — only to call her provider and find that the letter was sent in error.
"Wigs are something that 'won't be, and will never be covered' by my insurance company," she said of the devastating news. Though she saved up to buy a wig on her own, it is not of high quality. The wig has deteriorated so much that Samantha must always wear it with a hat, so she is reaching out through GoFundMe for help.
"I am attending school at the University of Montana for Biology with a minor in Immunology, as I would like to do research on this disease and help many around the world," she said. "Unfortunately, receiving an education is very expensive and I am unable to afford another wig that gives me back the outlandish personality and self-confidence I once had. Receiving a new wig would change the world for me, so hopefully I can go on and change the world for many others with my condition."
The high-quality hairpiece that Samantha needs to feel like herself again is about $2,000, and she is already more than halfway toward hitting her goal on GoFundMe. If you've ever suffered from hair loss, you know that it can have a hugely negative impact on your life. It's not an issue of vanity, it's an issue of identity. We know that Samantha's well-being will surge dramatically if she gets the help she needs.
Read on to see more pictures of Samantha, then visit her GoFundMe page to donate to her cause.