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TJ’s Fight

Junior battling Alopecia, friends shave heads in support

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TJ’s Fight

Blake Hanen & Alex Wallingford

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Unlike many people his age, junior TJ Jones was diagnosed with Alopecia, and thanks to his support group, he’s not facing the challenge alone.

On August 22, Jones and fellow junior Delaney Zack tweeted a picture of the couple at Pryor’s Place Barbershop in downtown New Albany. This particular trip to the barbershop wasn’t a normal one.

Jones has been diagnosed with Alopecia for over a year.

“I got a little bald spot on the back of my head and didn’t think anything of it,” Jones said. “I thought it would grow back, but it slowly got worse and worse. It started on the sides of my head then started in the middle. Over the course of last week I lost probably 75 percent of my hair. It got to the point where I couldn’t hide it and had to shave it all off.”

Jones explains that Alopecia is “an autoimmune disease that starts in your thyroid. Your white blood cells think that they need to attack your hair follicles. It starts slow, but can get rapid.” Jones also explained that he has Alopecia Reta, which just applies to the hair on his head.

Family and friends wanted to show him he wasn’t alone.

“My mom actually cut her hair too,” Jones said. Three of his close friends also chose to support him by cutting their hair as well.

“I felt really bad,” junior Drew Deitrich said. “I know that if I had to shave my head that I would want my friends to support me. Hopefully it will make it easier for him.”

Dietrich gives all the credit to junior Spencer Clark for coming up with the idea. The two boys both are seen posing proudly next to Jones in another picture included on Zack’s Twitter post.

Zack said she originally made the post to draw attention to her boyfriend’s condition, and was very successful in doing so.

“I felt really bad and wanted to spread the word like TJ wanted. I wanted to do anything I could to help” Zack said.

Included in the post was also information pertaining to raising money. Jones and his mom are working together to make t-shirts to raise awareness for Alopecia.

“They will be $15,” Jones said. “I’m going to get them ordered by this weekend, and should come in by September 6 or 7. I will be selling them at school that week.”

Proceeds will go towards TJ’s fight, and the leftover money will be donated to the National Alopecia Foundation.

“Since there is no cure, I hope the donation can help find one,” Jones said.

 

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