A Calgary group is hoping to raise awareness about childhood alopecia.
The Children’s Alopecia Project (C.A.P) is a non-profit charity founded in the United States in 2004, with several groups across the U.S. and two in Canada.
The Calgary C.A.P. group is the only one in Western Canada. It started up in Calgary about two years ago to support children and families dealing with alopecia.
“The motto for C.A.P. is shifting the focus from growing hair to growing confidence,” C.A.P. Calgary facilitator Jennifer George said.
C.A.P. organizes events so that kids with the condition can talk with and meet others who are going through the same thing.
“There’s some really important conversations that happen between the younger and the older kids — things about makeup and dating,” George said. “And really important for our groups is getting the parents together.”
Alopecia is believed to be an auto-immune disorder where the immune system attacks part of the hair root, causing the hair to fall out.
Evidence suggests the condition is on the rise, according to Michele Ramien, pediatric dermatologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
“We still don’t have great treatments unfortunately — that’s the big challenge,” she said.
“Now we’re identifying patients, but we don’t have good things to offer them,” Ramien added. “Once the research progresses a bit more… then I think we will see there are actually even more patients out there who will come in, because they know there’s something they can do about it.”