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Girl with alopecia creates confidence for other children with head scarves

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/19/2019 Angela Blakely, USA TODAY
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A note to MSN readers: Microsoft News For Good is proud to honor Rosie Quinn and Coming Up Rosies as December's Local Hero of the Month for their mission to bring pride and confidence to children dealing with hair loss. Please consider joining us and making a donation to help them expand their mission to more hospitals across the US. 

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At 2 years old, Rosie Quinn didn’t care or notice that all of the hair on her head and body began to fall out. After a few weeks, her hair was completely gone. 

“Basically, we noticed that we'd wake up in the morning and we'd see just like chunks of her curls on her pillow and we're like, ‘Oh my goodness! What's going on?’” said Paula Quinn, Rosie’s mom. “And within probably close to three weeks, all of her hair was just gone. And it was just like coming out. And so we took her to the doctor, and they diagnosed her with Alopecia Universalis.”

a boy sitting on a table: Rosie started a nonprofit that creates headscarves for kids with alopecia. © Humankind Rosie started a nonprofit that creates headscarves for kids with alopecia.

Alopecia Universalis is a type of hair loss that causes a person to lose all of their body hair. Despite the diagnosis, Rosie continued to be outgoing and gregarious.

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It wasn’t until she was about 4 years old that Rosie began to become self-conscious about her hair loss.

“People started commenting and pointing like, ‘Ooh, look at the baby! Look at that boy!’” said Paula. “We started to notice that she would just kind of stand by us and get all shy.”

Paula wanted to find a solution to bring back her daughter’s natural confidence.

The idea came when Paula was looking at Rosie’s numerous paintings. She decided to have one of Rosie’s favorite paintings transferred to a headscarf.

Rosie loved her new headscarf at first sight.

“I felt super happy and super confident. And I felt like I should give a scarf to all the other bald kids that needed one,” said Rosie, who is now 8 years old.

In 2016, Rosie and her mom launched their non-profit, Coming Up Rosies. The mom and daughter team send free “Smile Kits” to hospitals and kids with alopecia or other health conditions.

“It’s called Smile Kit because it makes other people smile,” Rosie said.

Each Smile Kit contains paint, a canvas, and paintbrush. After a child paints their canvas, Rosie and her mom print the child’s design on a scarf or cape. Then, they ship it back for the child to wear.

“We actually send them cards and I say like, ‘Wear with love… And I love the color you used.’ So that it says it from me, even though I can't like actually talk to them.” said Rosie.

Rosie and her mom are now spreading the smiles and confidence even more than they could have ever imagined.

Coming Up Rosies now exists in 20 hospitals and has donated more than 1,100 Smile Kits to kids who need them.

Rosie won the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes in September 2019. The award honors kids ages 8 to 18 who are making the world a better place.

The mother and daughter duo can’t wait to bring even more Smile Kits to kids who experience hair loss. They hope the scarves have the same effect as they did on Rosie.

“I don't wear them a lot now that I'm already confident,” said Rosie. “And all the kids who are bald like me… I’m trying to help them to love your body, and not be scared to go outside, and have fun!”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Girl with alopecia creates confidence for other children with head scarves

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