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Alopecia can be a difficult diagnosis for any person to hear. An autoimmune disorder that affects the hair follicles, it can cause once flowing locks to fall out in small round patches about the size of a quarter. In some cases, patients lose much …

And that’s exactly what happened to 7-year-old Gianessa Wride from Utah.

“On January 1st, Gianessa had taken a shower,” her mother, Daniella Wride, explains. “After her shower, I was helping her brush her hair. Her hair was down to the middle of her back. I noticed that a lot of hair was coming out in the hairbrush and so I began looking around her head. I found a bald patch on the back of her head the size of a quarter. I also noticed that around her temples it was beginning to thin. We let her go to bed without telling her what was going on. I didn’t want to scare her. My husband and I called her pediatrician the next day and made her an appointment.”

Left column: January 10 Middle column: January 13 Right column: the cutest 7 year old, fashionista, artist, shopkins loving girl. This is hard, but she is the strong one. #alopecia #alopeciaareata #baldisbeautiful #brave #nohairdontcare #youthinkyourehavingabadhairday

A post shared by Daniella Wride (@daniellawride) on Jan 15, 2017 at 3:16am PST

The pediatrician was able to give Gianessa a tentative diagnosis, but recommended that she see a dermatologist to be 100 percent sure. It took nearly a month for the Wrides to get an apointment with one. In the meantime, all of Gianessa’s hair fell out.

The pediatrician was able to give Gianessa a tentative diagnosis, but recommended that she see a dermatologist to be 100 percent sure. It took nearly a month for the Wrides to get an apointment with one. In the meantime, all of Gianessa’s hair fell out.

“It took a total of 20 days,” Wride tells CBS News. “I tried to explain it to her on a 7-year-old level, but tell her the exact truth. You can’t beat around the bush with kids. And instilling false hope, I think, it’s kind of cruel in its own way. So we just let her know that her hair was falling out and it probably wasn’t going to grow back. And we also tried to let her know that she’s still herself. She just doesn’t have any hair. She can still emphasize her personality through fashion choices. She can still do art and dance and do karate.”

By CHRISTINA CAPATIDES

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