|Page (1) of 1 - 09/07/12||email article||print page|
11-Year-Old with Rare Autoimmune Disease Throws First Pitch for Royals(September 07, 2012)
SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Sept. 7, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When the Kansas City Royals face the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, September 23, they will have a "ringer" in their corner. Courtney Whitney, who recently turned 11, will throw the first pitch at Kauffman Stadium that afternoon, one of a series of baseball-themed events the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and local organizers have coordinated for the Alopecia Areata Awareness Month of September.
Courtney was diagnosed in 2007 with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease resulting in total or partial loss of scalp and body hair. Her condition progressed from small-to-medium patches of hair falling out to full baldness by early 2010, as her initial feelings ranged from embarrassment to sadness to anger. Some classmates made fun of her, or others would ask whether she had cancer. Her mother Stephanie embarked on giving classroom presentations to help school staff and as well as students better understand her daughter's condition.
As she learned to live with alopecia areata, Courtney's own feelings evolved towards an understanding of her condition. After trying a wig for several weeks, she found it interfered with her love of gymnastics. She finally told her mother, "I'd rather just not wear it at all." Stephanie says, "Courtney absolutely encourages me with her attitude and bravery."
Today, Courtney is the youngest regular member of Kansas City's Alopecia Areata Support Group. She likes being connected with others who have this condition, knowing she can learn from them as they in turn learn from her. Courtney has experienced about 50% hair regrowth, and maintains her positive attitude as she aspires one day to be a model. Throwing the first pitch for the upcoming Royals game is extremely important to her. "It means that I speak for other people who have alopecia areata and most of them want what I want; more people to know about [the disease]. It's all about awareness."
In addition to the event with the Royals, NAAF is teaming up with the following MLB teams to promote alopecia areata awareness:
Anaheim Angels, Thursday, September 20
Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, September 29
Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, September 26
Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, September 12
Chicago Cubs, Sunday, September 16
Colorado Rockies, Wednesday, September 12
Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, September 26
Houston Astros, Wednesday, September 12
Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, September 28
Minnesota Twins, Saturday, September 29
New York Mets, Sunday, September 9
Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, September 9
Texas Rangers, Saturday, September 15
Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, September 12
Washington Nationals, Sunday, September 2
These events are not just for the Majors. Minor league teams such as the Nashville Sounds and Round Rock Express just outside Austin, Texas are also hosting awareness activities in support of NAAF.
Alopecia (AL-OH-PEE-SHA) areata (AIR-EE-AH-TAH) is the most common autoimmune disease that may result in total or partial loss of scalp and body hair. Affecting over 5 million Americans, and 117 million people worldwide, alopecia areata currently has no cure, and no treatment that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It occurs in both sexes and all races and ages, but young people are affected most often. Alopecia areata usually starts with one or more small, round patches on the scalp. In some people, the disease can affect hair on the scalp until all of it is lost (alopecia totalis), or over the entire body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes (alopecia universalis).
NAAF, headquartered in San Rafael, CA, fundraises for research to find a cure or acceptable treatment for alopecia areata, supports those with the disease, and educates the public about alopecia areata. NAAF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and has a prestigious Scientific Advisory Council. Founded in 1981, NAAF is widely regarded as the largest, most influential, and most representative foundation associated with alopecia areata.
To learn more about alopecia areata, please contact the National Alopecia Areata Foundation office at 415-472-3780 in San Rafael, CA or visit the NAAF website at www.naaf.org.
The National Alopecia Areata Foundation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=14557
CONTACT: Gary Sherwood
Related Keywords: SPORTS, MEDICAL, NONPROFITPro AV, Presentors, Business, Business Issues, Presentation, People, Events, Medicine, Disease, Surgery, Sports, Business Services, Medical, Cancer, Business, Sports, Baseball, Other,