In January, 7-year-old Gianessa "Nessa" Wride's hair started falling out. Not just stray strands, but clumps.
It's a scary prospect for adults seven times her age, let alone a child who hasn't even mastered long division yet. Her mother, Daniella Wride, took it hard.
"I think I took it harder than she did; I would just bawl and cry sometimes,” Wride told local Salt Lake City station KUTV.
Daniella made an appointment for her daughter at the local dermatologist, but by the time she was seen, Nessa's hair was completely gone.
Nessa was diagnosed with alopecia, a condition that results in sudden hair loss.
It occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. The condition has no cure, but is treated with a corticosteroid or, quite simply, patience. Occasionally, the hair loss comes and goes within a year, but 10% of people will never regrow their hair, especially those who are diagnosed at a young age or have a family history of the condition.
It would be easy for most newly bald kids to feel down about Crazy Hair Day at school, but not Nessa.
When Crazy Hair Day was announced, the bubbly first-grader wanted to participate. Mother and daughter worked together to come up with the perfect solution: scrapbooking stickers!
Nessa rocked stick-on gems in cool sparkly patterns, including an owl and flowers.
"She's just so funky and vibrant and she loves everything sparkly," Daniella says.
A post shared by Daniella Wride (@daniellawride) on
Nessa looked amazing, and her classmates thought so too.
"When we pulled up to the drop-off lane at school, Gianessa opened the car door and you could already hear people saying things like, 'Oh that's so awesome!' 'That's so cool!,'" Daniella shares. "Gianessa got home from school and she said that all the kids kept swarming her and telling her that they loved her crazy hair, and that they wanted to be just like her."
No matter who you are or the hand you're dealt, positivity is powerful.
It's not always easy. In fact, some days it's downright hard. But a little hope and optimism can go a long away toward making a your day a little better. And maybe someone else's too.
Here's to you, Nessa! Keep shining!