By Nicolas Fernandes
An alopecia sufferer whose balding left her afraid to leave the house and looking ‘like a man’ has now found confidence thanks to long blonde wig.
Savannah Cinadr, 20, of Mansfield, Ohio, USA, suffered from stress-induced Alopecia Areata after losing her grandmother Mary Ann Nore, 74, in a tragic car accident last summer.
A month after losing the relative who she considered ‘best friend’, she started to notice masses of hair falling out each morning.
Every time she washed or brushed her hair or tried putting it in a pony tail, it would fall out even more.
Savannah soon became depressed and felt like she no longer looked like a woman, avoiding leaving her house as much as possible.
When she did go out in public, she received negative comments from children who wondered why she was losing her hair – with one asking her guardian why she looked so ‘weird’ and ‘creepy.’
To combat the cruel comments, she started fundraising and within six months was able to buy a wig that resembles her natural hair.
Last month, she donned the long blonde hairpiece for the first time and now feels confident enough to leave the house without fear.
Savannah, a fashion design and marketing student, said: “Losing my grandmother was a drastic change. Every morning when I woke up, I felt nothing.
“I woke up and just wanted to go back to sleep. Everything that I had once enjoyed was completely erased from my life.
“Scary cannot even begin to describe how I was feeling when my hair started to fall out.
“I remember standing in the shower, lathering conditioner on my hair and seeing it just come out into my hands. I always had to pick up massive hair clumps in the drain after each shower.
“I would wake up each morning only to find a pile of hair on my pillow.
“Thin hair likes to knot very easy so whenever I had a knot, I had to brush it out. Brushing my hair literally meant it coming right out of my head.
“I started to develop anxiety and self-consciousness when I was around anyone. I was afraid that they could see my bald spots like I could.
“As the hair loss progressed, I started staying home more often and limiting social interaction.
“For a while, I thought I looked like a man because I was bald.
“It really hurt my feelings when the girl in the waiting room asked her grandmother why I was so creepy looking.
“I am well aware that kids are curious, honest, little human beings, but damn can the truth hurt.
“I was trying not to look at the little girl because I knew if I did, then I would burst out into tears. I started to wonder if everyone had viewed me in this manner.”
By November 20th – Savannah’s 20th birthday – the top of her head was completely bald, with patches of hair still existing on the fronts, sides and back of her head.
She decided to chop off the long pieces and a week later, asked her mom to completely shave off the remaining patches.
Savannah said: “At this point I was completely bald on the top of my head.
“It was an extreme adjustment to go completely bald.”
As someone who has had long hair her whole life, Savannah felt like the condition was robbing her of her beauty.
She didn’t have the confidence she used to after she realized she was losing her favorite part of her image.
Savannah said: “Hair defined who I was from junior high to my freshman year in college. I always had thick hair that I could braid, curl, straighten and crimp. Hair was vital to my image.
“Hair was my sense of beauty. It may sound materialistic, but my hair was my life.”
Although it was difficult for her to reveal her struggle, Savannah gained the confidence to set up a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise funds to purchase a wig.
She received more than $2,000 (1,440 GBP) of donations in 20 hours thanks to the help of friends, family, fellow sorority members and strangers.
Savannah said: “I purchased a gorgeous lace front long blonde wig with the donations. Now I feel as if I am a new person.
“Sharing my story online was very difficult because I was constantly trying to hide the condition for six months.
“Although it sometimes itches and is uncomfortable on my head, I still manage to wear it each day.”
Thanks to the help of her therapist, her family and a very positive friend, Savannah has been able to gain a lot more confidence in herself and realize that her hair does not define who she is.
Although she has accepted that she has no natural hair on her head, Savannah still feels that she needs to wear her wig every day.
She said: “I invested a lot of time into the wrong things when I was growing up. I thought that having the best hair, makeup and outfit was what instilled confidence in oneself.
“My hair used to give me the confidence that I was a real woman.
“I have now learned that no matter what happens on the outside, I still have a beautiful heart and personality. That’s what is most important.
“I am not at the stage where I feel as if I can just go bald in this society. Although I have gained more confidence, I am still nervous of my image.
Savannah believes that losing her hair has made her a much stronger person.
She added: “If I can lose all my hair, I can battle anything.”