Debbie started losing large amounts of her hair in the age of 6 and was always trying to shield those bald spots from the world. None of the doctors could figure out the cause.
By age 13, Debbie was completely bald and finally resorted to wearing wigs. As a young teenage girl, this was an extremely devastating event. Other kids wondered if she had some contagious disease or if she was dying. Debbie usually ignored their teasing or laughed with them until she got home, then cried.
Fortunately, Debbie’s parents taught her to hold her head high and realize there were other children who had much worse conditions. But as a typical 13-year-old girl who was very active in sports, the situation led to some very embarrassing moments. The most embarrassing event involved David Lane – Debbie’s church playmate who she was totally in love with.
One Sunday evening, the church-group kids all got together and went roller-skating at the local rink. Their parents dropped them off for three hours. On this particular Sunday, they played the game “whoopie” – three people held hands while skating and when “whoopie” was yelled everyone had to change directions. Kimmie, David Lane and Debbie were going to skate together.
Three “whoopies” into it, an out-of-control skater suddenly came straight for Debbie, collided with her head and her wig went flying 50 feet down the skating rink! Debbie was completely mortified as she stood beside David, and he looked at her bald head! The entire skating rink came to a standstill as one of Debbie’s friends picked up the wig and plunked it back on her head. However it was put on backwards in a hurry so the long curls were hanging past Debbie’s nose and the bangs were at her neck! Debbie was immediately surrounded by all her friends as they shuffled her off to the ladies’ room to fix her up.
Once Debbie was in that restroom, she wouldn’t get out. She didn’t want to feel the stares from everyone. She used the restroom phone, and through passionate sobs, asked her dad to come pick her up. But her dad said, “No, you wash your face of tears, straighten up your hair, and go skate the rest of the night away.” Debbie was completely devastated. Her dad had always been her hero. Why wouldn’t he come rescue her? Twenty minutes and three pleading phone calls later, the reply was the same, “No, you get back out there and skate.”
It was then, as Debbie sat in tears on the bathroom floor, that David Lane appeared. He just skated right into the ladies’ room, grabbed Debbie’s hand and asked her to come back out to skate. Debbie wiped her face, held her head high and skated the rest of the night away with the boy she loved.
A few months later, a doctor said Debbie had “alopecia” – baldness caused by an allergy to the chemicals released by her own hair follicles. As an allergic reaction, her hair fell out. The doctor said that when Debbie started menstruating, her chemical makeup would change and she would most likely get her hair back. Finally, at age 16, Debbie started menstruating and her hair started growing! Within six months, she no longer had to wear a wig.
Today, when Debbie asked her husband what was the first thing he noticed about her, he sincerely said, “Your long, beautiful, dark hair!”
Debbie had not contacted David Lane for over 15 years, but she always wants to tell him, “Thank you. Your rescue of a 13-year-old bald girl transformed a memory of a most embarrassing moment into a memory of kindness and love.”
Sometimes, the test of courage comes when we are in the minority.