Girl, With Condition Causing Baldness, Embraces Her Difference - New York News

Girl, With Condition Causing Baldness, Embraces Her Difference

Posted: Updated:
BERKS COUNTY, Pa. -

15-year-old Maddie Woytovich is a typical teenage girl. She loves hanging with her friends, she fights with her sisters and enjoys summer breaks volunteering at the local playground.

But there's one noticeable difference that separates Maddie from other girls her age. She has no hair.

"I don't have any eyebrows, eyelashes, arm hair leg hair, anything," says Maddie.

Maddie, who lives in Berks County, began losing her hair when she was just five years old. She has Alopecia, an auto-immune disease that causes hair to fall out from some or all parts of the body.

"When I would wake up it would be on my pillow," she explains. "When I'd take a bath there would be clumps, it just fell out so fast"

Doctors diagnosed Maddie just a month after she started kindergarten, a time when she so desperately wanted to be like all the other girls at school.

"Everyone has long hair, so it was ... very hard for me," Maddie remembers.

While Alopecia is not life threatening, it is life-altering. Maddie's parents, Jeff and Betsy were devastated.

"I just remember thinking all the most negative things, that she will never get married, that she'd never have friends, that she would get picked on, that we're are gonna have a little bald daughter who would be damaged for life," recalls Jeff.

Maddie's parents tried pills and lotions to get her hair to grow back. When it didn't, they bought her hats and wigs. But it was Maddie who quickly realized that the treatments and the cover-ups were worse than the disease.

"That's when I decided I don't need to wear hats… people will like me just the same," she says.

Fast forward ten years, and Maddie is proof of that. Her friends and family say she's smart, fearless and one the most popular kids at school. She also helps run the children's Alopecia Project, a charity her parents started to help other kids with Alopecia build self-esteem.

"If someone is picking on you. The more confident you are, the less someone will pick on you and you have to have confidence to take off your hat and go bald," says Maddie.

"Maddie told me a lot of people would stare at her and her dad told her that whenever someone stares at you just respond with a smile," says Sean O'Brien.

Sean O'Brien went to high school with Maddie's dad. He was so struck by Maddie's resiliency that he decided to write a children's book about Alopecia, using Maddie's family's story.

Maddie, Teaching Tolerance With A Smile, is the first children's book about hair loss. The author is using the popular crowdfunding site crowdit.com to ask people who believe in the book's message to give money so it can be published. So far he's raised more than $5,000.

"This is our story. It does get better, and not just for Alopecia. It's about anything that makes a child different," says Jeff.

"Its okay to be different. Everyone is different in their own way. I'm just different because I have no hair" says Maddie.

An important lesson, taught by an amazing young woman who has embraced her beautiful baldness, despite living in a world where physical perfection is too often the goal.

"Its not about finding a cure. Its about living in the moment and being confident with having no hair," says Maddie.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Police: Boater Disappearance May Have Been Staged

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:28:19 GMT
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
    Egg Harbor Township Police believe the disappearance of a boater in July may have been staged.
  • New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    New Video Game Sparks Debate In South Jersey

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:30:49 GMT
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.
    Video games may be pure fantasy, but a violent action-adventure game called "Watch Dogs" has ignited a very real debate in one South Jersey community. Watch Dog allows players to adopt the persona of a James Bond-like computer hacker, chasing an evil mastermind. People say it's chock-full of foul language, sex and violence, features dark and foreboding backdrops. The latest version, which is due out this fall may be set in Camden.

  • SOGGY WEEKEND

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:24:23 GMT

    Saturday will start off unsettled, especially S&E, but towards the afternoon most of us should remain drier with light scattered showers.

    Saturday (79/68): AM Rain, PM Clouds

    Weekend, clouds will stick around throughout Saturday and Sunday as wet weather dampens the first weekend in August. Saturday will start off unsettled, especially S&E, but towards the afternoon most of us should remain drier with light scattered showers. There is a better chance for more widespread precipitation Sunday with on and off showers/thunderstorms possible.

    Saturday (79/68): AM Rain PM Clouds

    Sunday (81/68): Cloudy, Showers & T-Storms

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 'Get on Up' and James Brown's Harlem legacy

    'Get on Up' and James Brown's Harlem legacy

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:55:13 GMT
    "Get on Up" is in theaters now. The film chronicles the career of James Brown, who had a special connection to Harlem and New York. Billy Mitchell is the in-house historian at the historic Apollo Theater. He says the Apollo was a second home to Brown, as it was here where he became an international superstar who appealed to all. But Brown's NYC legacy stretches even further.
    "Get on Up" is in theaters now. The film chronicles the career of James Brown, who had a special connection to Harlem and New York. Billy Mitchell is the in-house historian at the historic Apollo Theater. He says the Apollo was a second home to Brown, as it was here where he became an international superstar who appealed to all. But Brown's NYC legacy stretches even further.
  • Dog found in abandoned home cleaned up and adopted

    Dog found in abandoned home cleaned up and adopted

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:51:00 GMT
    A 6-year-old Shih Tzu mix that was found in an abandoned home in Lindenhurst two weeks ago now has a new home with a new family. Ziggy has been has been cleaned up and has undergone physical therapy. Babylon town employees took three and a half hours to remove nearly four pounds of matted hair after they found him. Ziggy's fur was so matted and his nails so overgrown that he could barely walk.
    A 6-year-old Shih Tzu mix that was found in an abandoned home in Lindenhurst two weeks ago now has a new home with a new family. Ziggy has been has been cleaned up and has undergone physical therapy. Babylon town employees took three and a half hours to remove nearly four pounds of matted hair after they found him. Ziggy's fur was so matted and his nails so overgrown that he could barely walk.
  • Massive emergency drill in New York City

    Massive emergency drill in New York City

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:14:45 GMT
    The New York City Department of Health conducted a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday. They tested the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, or other large-scale public health emergency in the city. The majority of the deliveries will take place to public school buildings.
    The New York City Department of Health conducted a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday. They tested the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, or other large-scale public health emergency in the city. The majority of the deliveries will take place to public school buildings.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices