Five Hills Ambassador helps fund camp for children with Alopecia
Special to Leader-Press
TRINITY, TEXAS—Five Hills Ambassador Briana Liles always knew she was not alone in her struggle with alopecia. But, her hard work to raise money to send other children with the autoimmune disorder paid off with a lifetime of memories with new friends who also share her battle.
For the last two years, Liles has raised money to pay the way for children with alopecia to attend the Children’s Alopecia Project Camp. With a camp being held in Trinity, Texas this spring, Liles was invited by CAP founder Jeff Woytovich to be one of the campers.
“This experience was so emotional for me. I cried, smiled, laughed, listened, talked, and played so much,” the 11-year-old said. “I never met anyone other than myself that had alopecia. At camp, I found a place where I belong. I will always have friends and people to turn to anytime I need to now. It’s like I added to my family.”
Liles and other campers enjoyed canoeing, rock climbing, miniature golfing, archery, and giant swings which were Liles’ favorite activity. But, it is the friendships she made that Liles cherishes most.
“I got really close with two of the girls and it feels so great to finally have someone in my life that suffers from the same thing as me. While my alopecia is not as far advanced as theirs is, they never made me feel like I didn’t belong. We all understood each other and what we have been through and they were able to give me some advice on what I may go through later on in life. It feels great to no longer feel like I’m alone,” Liles said.
“Before going to camp, I always knew it didn’t matter if my hair fell out or not because my hair doesn’t define who I am. But there was a part of me that still worried about losing my hair,” the fifth grader said. “After attending camp and hearing so many different testimonials and hanging out with lots of girls and boys who have absolutely no hair at all, I learned that I don’t care if I have hair or not. I do believe now I would be truly okay if all of my hair fell out tomorrow.”
Woytovich founded CAP in 2004 after his daughter, Madison, started losing her hair while in kindergarten. Not find any resources to support Madison’s condition, Woytovich created his own non-profit organization that provides a myriad of resources for children with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself, especially the hair, resulting in anything from a temporary bald spot to total hair loss. There is no effective treatment or cure.
Parents of children suffering from alopecia who are interested in attending a CAP camp should visit https://www.childrensalopeciaproject.org/ to register.