- Category: Young & Trendy
- Created on 14 December 2018
- Written by Shernita Wiggins Wynder
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September is the month for several diseases that run havoc upon our society and the one this article will tackle is Alopecia totalis
. There are many types of alopecia areata. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, they range from patchy coin-sized round or oval patches on the scalp or other places hair grows, to alopecia totalis consisting of total hair loss across the entire scalp…to alopecia universalis resulting in hair loss over the entire body. Social media platforms have heightened the opportunity to find out about people, places, and things immediately, that many of us had to wait for others to bring to our attention over a period of time. On FaceBook, back in July during the week I was preparing for a women’s conference, I was scrolling across my timeline and came across a Live post by Kenya Moore in my feed that one of my FaceBook friends were tagged.
I usually just scroll by, but something about this video stood out to me. At first glance, I thought she was a teen fighting Cancer because of her bald appearance. Having experienced a loss with a young lady the latter part of last year from the dreadful disease, my heart began to break just thinking about it. However, to my surprise, her message was to those who had secretly inboxed her as to the reason behind her hair loss. Clearly this young lady was tired of repeating herself and tired of hiding behind the disease. She began to tell her audience that she was finally available to explain the disease she was diagnosed with and they had the opportunity to ask whatever questions they wanted to, and she would not be mad. She was ready to come out of her comfort zone to live free from the pain she was previously caused through self-esteem issues and bullying from those ignorant to the disease lacking moral standards.
After I watched the video, with tears streaming down, I felt what Kenya must have dealt with over the years and then I wondered how her parents handled this delicate situation with their daughter beginning with the diagnosis at the age of four. I immediately reached out and to her and shared how inspired I was to hear her story and then invited her and her parents to attend my Daughters of Purpose Ministry women’s conference that Friday. I was excited when she gladly accepted, and I added her to become a part of the Friday night’s program. She and her family attended and when it came time to share her story with me on the platform on our Purposeful Living for Life’s Journey Show, I saw a white rosebud open into a beautiful rose, embracing her thorns and lifting her head to stand out among the other red roses. She invited her mentor, Tammy Whiten who was a part of the youth ministry at her church, Believer’s Life Center to join her on the stage. Kenya shared that she was ready for her assignment to begin and she was ready to bring about awareness to others. Her parents Nathan and Nicole Moore cried with their child, especially when she was sharing about how people treated her. At the end, you could see the exhaling of relief that their efforts to raise a strong little girl into a brave woman had come to pass as they embraced her at the end of the night. Since then, she has been speaking at various events for Alopecia Totalis awareness of her bullying ordeal.
In order to assist her with her journey I interviewed her and her parents and this is what they had to say.
I found out that I had alopecia when I was four years old and I was diagnosed with alopecia totalis at the age of six. It is an autoimmune disorder which causes hair loss where I completely lost all my hair. Of course, I didn’t understand my condition until I was around 10 years old. When I was first able to realize and really care about having hair, I was going into middle school. It was then I found myself becoming upset, devastated, and angry. I was so worried about if I would be accepted or if I would be bullied for being bald. I tried to hide my feelings secretly on the inside while dressing up on the outside. I was broken. I found myself not only questioning God why…but I began blaming Him. Questioning Him as to why I couldn’t be like other kids. I fell into a deep depression and many times contemplated suicide. I was so overwhelmed by the pain, hurt, and disappointment in the way people were treating me. This led to my feeling helpless and worthless; I decided that if I just took myself out, I wouldn’t have to deal with this condition anymore and that life would be better if I didn’t exist. My mother, Nicole Moore, constantly would have me read scriptures and pray over me, cover me, and speak encouraging words to me as I faced all the obstacles in my life. She would tell me that I was created in God’s image and the important thing was to embrace myself in the skin I was in with self-confidence and to build my self-esteem, no matter how others may attempt to tear me down. My dad Nathan Moore showed me love and always reminded and reinforced to me how beautiful I was. Each day I awoke in the morning without my hair, he would say, “Baby you look beautiful.”
When I was bullied, I felt like I wanted to die and that the entire world was against me. It was the worst during my high school years. Kids said that I was a Cancer patient, that I looked like a man, Steve Harvey, the girl with no hair or eyebrows, and everything else that I wasn’t. Each time this happened, I would cry and get angry and I wanted to fight. I have been bullied verbally and physically. But the scriptures my mom made me read that helped me the most was, Psalms 139:14, because no matter what the opinions of those who chose to hurt me were, it would boil down to what God thought about me. However, the entire time I went through this, I tried so hard to fit in, not realizing that He had created me to stand out and be a leader not a victim. My hair, or lack thereof doesn’t define me. It’s just another feature cruel people expected me to have. I constantly reminded myself of a quote by Dr. Maya Angelou which said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I have forgiven everyone for what they have said and their actions, but I will always remember how they made me feel.
In the past, I was a girl living on a roller coaster of emotions, who was headed for destruction. I was full of insecurities, broken, angry, and most of all…entertaining suicidal thoughts. I hated my life and felt that I didn’t have a purpose nor reason to live. But today—I see myself as a unique, bold, brave, courageous, fierce, and beautiful young lady with confidence. I have become liberated by sharing my story to the world on social media. I have found my purpose and passion of why God created me “for such a time as this.” I now know that fulfilling my destiny meant sharing my testimony with others in order to become a blessing to them. I want to help those who like myself, are struggling with alopecia daily, and other autoimmune disorders that cause hair loss. When you are free, there is nothing that can make you feel bound, as I did in the past. I believe that I am living my best life now and my goal in life is to inspire others, remind them to embrace their flaws because we were all created to be different and yet we are all unique. I want to encourage the youth that are dealing with similar stories like mine on how to overcome bullying by being confident in who they are…because no one can be better than you, you are special. My purpose right now, I believe consists of speaking in my community, and at schools, hospitals, and events around the world. My next goals are to start a scarf and turban line for those experiencing hair loss and suffering in silence, or just for those who want to feel free to embrace their best selves. I will do all of this by teaching others, as I have learned to do so. I want to teach people how to truly treat people like they want to be treated.
At first glance of Nathan and Nicole Moore, they appear to be the perfect strong couple without a care in the world. Yet, beneath the surface, existed a mother who silently cried for her baby wishing she could take her place and a father holding back the urge to rip the world to shreds that even thought about harming his family, let alone his daughter. When I asked Nicole to explain the beginning of her struggle with her daughter’s illness, her mind went back to March 2004, the day she picked up Kenya from school and noticed that she had a bald spot in her hair. Her first notion was that her daughter had cut a patch of hair out. But as time went on, she noticed that patches of Kenya’s hair would come out as she combed it. Nicole explained how she took her daughter to the dermatologist only to receive diagnosis after diagnosis from a fungus, to lupus, thyroid disease and possible cancer. Her daughter endured medications, scalp tests, blood work until it was determined that she had alopecia aerate. That was in April of 2004 and by December 2004 Kenya had lost all her hair. She was completely bald with her diagnosis becoming alopecia totalis.
Nicole by this point, being unfamiliar with this disease and a mother torn over the condition of her daughter was left devastated, confused, an emotional wreck, lost and blaming herself. But being a woman of faith and a prayer warrior like the woman with the issue of blood, she knew she was connected to the main physician…Jesus. I knew even though the diagnosis and prognosis weren’t good, I was still grateful because it could’ve been other things that could affect her health. But God allowed it to be her hair. When things happen in life you can either allow it to define who you are or destroy you. I chose to allow it to strengthen and unify our family. We understood that the Father had the final say and he would not put more on us than we could bear. God reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11 and although I didn’t understand the plan…I still trusted Him.
My mind flashing back to the weekend of the women’s conference and seeing her protective face gracefully watching her daughter as she shared her testimony. I could see the combination of strength and pain intermingled into a vision of hope…wanting and waiting to hear that long-awaited word from God. When I asked Nicole how she broke the news to her daughter, husband and rest of the family she explained that both she and her husband received the report and the challenge became how to explain that to their four-year-old little girl. She remembered how Kenya used to ask when her hair was falling out, would it grow back? Nicole reminisced that those were the moments she fought back tears, trying to be strong for her daughter as she looked into her innocent little face, while searching for the right words to say. I was wishing that I could take her place. I began to describe about God’s creation and how He placed the stars in the sky, decided to make the sky blue, the grass green, the ocean teal…all so she could understand through this analogy that God created her in His image and that all she needed to remember was that she was beautifully and wonderfully made, with or without hair. Nicole said that she knew there would be speculation, whispers, and assumptions especially when people didn’t know their struggle. However, they learned to accept what God had allowed and carefully selected the people in their lives that really mattered and would ultimately share in the journey who weren’t judgmental about Kenya’s condition.
So, I asked Nicole what was the main support that helped her and her family during those early stages. She attributed her strong foundation in her faith and her relationship with Jesus and being surrounded with ministries that supported them as she and her husband Nathan traveled from place to place with his military duty to his country. She said they had some awesome spiritual leaders like Bishop Donnie and First Lady Shirley Mcgriff at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in San Diego, California, Bishop John and Dr. Janice Crenshaw at Kingdom Life Worship Center, Atlanta, Georgia and currently Pastor Lee and Dr. Yvonne Capehart of Believers Life Center, Pensacola, Florida. Amidst the strong ties of their overseers, among them were family and friends which she elaborated as being available to always speak encouraging words and imparting prophesy to uplift their baby girl. Nicole said her mom was there from the beginning supporting where needed when they faced the good, bad, and the ugly. My best friend Dora Grandison and her family whom Kenya called her other mom and who stood in the gap when I was weak and frustrated and who nurtured, loved, and embraced Kenya as her own. Tammy Whiten who mentored, covered, pushed, and encouraged Kenya to pursue her dreams and always succeed beyond expectations. Mother Linda Hicks, Clarisse Dees, Patrina Sykes, Britton Capehart, Chauncey Rease and Shaletha Robinson, all of which I am so very grateful that our paths connected in a special way. Also, Ms Pamela Burney, God rest her precious soul, who loved on my family, especially Kenya. She was always building her up in confidence and image.
As a parent, I can’t even imagine how hard the struggle must have been to watch their child suffer with a diagnosis that she couldn’t soothe nor take away. According to Nicole, she explained that she would be lying if she said that it was easy. It was very challenging, difficult, and an emotional roller coaster having to watch their child endure bullying, being called names, and coming up against demonic forces that tore at the flesh of her daughter’s soul and tortured the heart-strings of her and husband’s, as well. It was in those very moments that Nicole and Nathan decided that the enemy would not control their daughter’s fate. They would make sure that Kenya was equipped with all the tools and Armor of God, so their darling daughter could stand the storms of life and tests of time.
God gives His toughest battles to His strongest warriors—for the tests were never designed to destroy you but make you stronger. Seek God in everything that you do because I was reminded on this journey of Romans 8:28. Know that whatever you face He has already equipped you to endure the battle so feel free to embrace your journey and trust God to take you through it all. I pray that our story will encourage, inspire, and strengthen those it is assigned to and remember that whatever your Goliath, God will never leave nor forsake you. Put your trust and faith in Him, giving all the glory to Him and you will be victorious. Our baby has accepted her Purpose…she is walking in her destiny and she is determined not to look back. Our prayers were always answered, we just had to wait on God’s timing—and you can too.
This family has clearly redefined their purpose and their relationships. I believe this assignment has made them stronger, wiser, and better. All it takes is seeing the love in their eyes for one another that they have each other’s back because God has theirs. What was once an unbearable trial…has become an unbreakable bond.▄