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: Man kills wife, wounds self at New Jersey hospital

    Police: Man kills wife, wounds self at New Jersey hospital

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:45:20 GMT
    Authorities say a man shot his wife and himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey.Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says both are alive and being treated.
    Authorities say a man shot his wife and himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey.Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says both are alive and being treated.
  • Girl set to testify in Bryant School school abduction

    Girl set to testify in Bryant School school abduction

    A now 7-year-old girl abducted from her Philadelphia kindergarten and sexually assaulted could testify Wednesday in the trial of a former day care worker.
    A now 7-year-old girl abducted from her Philadelphia kindergarten and sexually assaulted could testify Wednesday in the trial of a former day care worker.
  • Man Robs Olney Dunkin Donuts After Asking For Cup of Coffee

    Man Robs Olney Dunkin Donuts After Asking For Cup of Coffee

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:46 AM EDT2014-08-27 14:46:10 GMT
    Police are looking for a man who robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Olney.This happened on August 21 at 8:12 pm while employees were working inside the store located at 5401 North 5th Street. 
    Police are looking for a man who robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Olney.This happened on August 21 at 8:12 pm while employees were working inside the store located at 5401 North 5th Street. 
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Rapper Joe Budden arrested

    Rapper Joe Budden arrested

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 1:52 PM EDT2014-08-27 17:52:27 GMT

    Rapper Joe Budden was arrested by the NYPD on Wednesday in connection with the robbery of his ex-girlfriend's cell phone earlier this month. Police had been looking for the New Jersey resident since Aug. 18 after a heated argument with the woman inside his car in Washington Heights. After he was arrested on Wednesday, Budden apparently Tweeted several times from jail.

    Rapper Joe Budden was arrested by the NYPD on Wednesday in connection with the robbery of his ex-girlfriend's cell phone earlier this month. Police had been looking for the New Jersey resident since Aug. 18 after a heated argument with the woman inside his car in Washington Heights. After he was arrested on Wednesday, Budden apparently Tweeted several times from jail.

  • Soldier who killed herself at Va. Army base was from Yonkers

    Soldier who killed herself at Va. Army base was from Yonkers

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-08-27 17:28:56 GMT

    The Army has identified the soldier who barricaded herself in a building at a Virginia base and then fatally shot herself in the head.  Fort Lee officials on Wednesday say it was 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker of Yonkers

    The Army has identified the soldier who barricaded herself in a building at a Virginia base and then fatally shot herself in the head.  Fort Lee officials on Wednesday say it was 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker of Yonkers

  • Cuomo orders investigation into Time Warner outage

    Cuomo orders investigation into Time Warner outage

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 1:15 PM EDT2014-08-27 17:15:06 GMT
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. More than 11 million customers were affected.  Several hours later, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the outage. "I have directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate this outage as part of its review of Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner," said Cuomo.
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. More than 11 million customers were affected.  Several hours later, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the outage. "I have directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate this outage as part of its review of Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner," said Cuomo.
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