Minnesota Boy with Autoimmune Disorder Touched by Kind Classmates
13-year-old Minnesotan Thatcher Johnson is like most other middle school boys. He likes football, basketball, baseball, and video games. But he also has an autoimmune disorder called alopecia. When his classmates and their dads found out they did something pretty amazing for Thatcher.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes you to lose your hair. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says it's "a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles". Sometimes your hair can grow back but in other cases, you lose your hair permanently.
When Thatcher developed alopecia and started to lose his hair, he told WCCO that it was hard to explain to his classmates what was going on. Eventually, he decided he wanted to go all in and shave his head. When he told his parents that he wanted to do it, his dad said "'I'm just going to do it too then. I don't want you to be alone'".
Head-Shaving Party for Thatcher
Thatcher and his dad, Ben, planned a head-shaving party and invited some people to come and participate if they wanted to. WCCO writes that they thought "a couple people would join in. But it turned into something much bigger." Many of Thatcher's classmates and their dads showed up to have their heads shaved. Thatcher's mom, Mandi, said, "'I was emotional. I got teary-eyed pretty much every time someone else would sit down'".
They don't know yet if Thatcher's hair loss will be permanent but doctors are hopeful that it won't be. But in the meantime, Thatcher's friends have already said they'd shave their heads again if needed.