Strong, inspiring, brave, uplifting, bubbly—these are a few of the words that come to describe Makalya Krenzel.
Makayla, a Grade 5 student at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School, suffers from an autoimmune disease called Alopecia that causes hair loss.
Her mom Becky said they first became aware of her ailment when Makayla was 2.
“It was a very small spot on her hair at first but it has progressed as she’s gotten older, to the point where she lost all of it,” Becky says of the disease which is related to a thyroid functioning ailment.
But for Makayla, now age 10, her visual appearance has both revealed a loss of hair but also the resolve of her own character, to confront adversity head-on and educate others about her health issues.
Her hair is likely to grow back but could possibly follow the same scenario of falling out again.
September was Alopecia Awareness Month, so Makayla took advantage of that opportunity to spread awareness about her affliction to her schoolmates.
She spoke to her class about it, and was then subsequently to speak to the entire school, Kindergarten to Grade 12.
“It’s not easy to get up in front of 700 people and essentially talk about yourself,” Becky says. “Even as an adult, I am amazed at what she’s been able to do.”
In response, students in the school wore blue ribbons to signify support for Makayla and awareness of Alopecia Awareness Month.
“It took a lot of courage and character for her to get up there and give that speech, but she also learned from that experience that she’s capable of doing anything she sets her mind to,” Becky says.
“Not also is she empowering herself…something that will help her as she becomes an adult.”
So far, Makayla’s Alopecia is relegated to hair loss, as she is not been placed on medication yet, relying on a healthy diet and supplements to combat the disease at this point.
“She’s not physically limited to what she wants to do. Makayla is in dance 21 hours a week and gymnastics. She is a very active girl,” Becky says.