Twelve-year-old Kaydence embraces her name, whose African-American origins translate to “in rhythm,” and connote a free-spirited individual. But more importantly this courageous girl, who has been bald most of her life—embraces herself.
When she was one year old, she began to lose her hair and became completely bald over the next couple years.
“Other girls put bows in their hair, but Kaydence put stickers all over her head,” says her mom, Rebekah. “She thought that was pretty cool.” But in kindergarten her hair started to grow back and the stickers would get stuck in the hair, so she could no longer adorn her head with her trademark stickers. Luckily, her hair started to grow and by second grade it was shoulder length. However, as is typical for those with alopecia (which can unpredictable and chronic), the hair started to fall out again. She was completely hair less once more by the time she reached fifth grade.
Her mom purchased a wig for her, but it was hard to keep on, and it was uncomfortable. It needed to be glued and taped to stay in place. As an active middle-schooler, Kaydence plays soccer and volleyball and is a cheerleader, so she was looking for a better solution.
During a visit to the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, a nurse told the family about the charitable organization, Wigs For Kids, and how they provide hair systems to children in need at no cost to their family. “The wig we originally purchased was very expensive, so it was great to find out about this charitable organization,” says Rebekah.
Through the application process for the Wigs For Kids Recipient Program, they needed to select a Certified Service Provider to work with Kaydence. They chose Chad Keast from the Wigs For Kids Certified Service Provider Locator. Upon approval of Kaydence’s application, they visited Chad at his salon in nearby Chicago.
“Chad was super sweet and so understanding of what I am going through as a pre-teen,” says Kaydence. “I never had a full head of hair so I didn’t know what color to choose to match my hair,” she says.
Originally, I thought I wanted black hair with some blonde highlights, but when I was presented the opportunity for a brown one, I took it. Once I put it on, I immediately loved it and knew it was perfect. It feels so soft and so real. And it is so easy to wear, as I can tighten it in the back and it doesn’t need tape or glue.– Kaydence
Chad added layers in the hair and cut a curtain bang to make it uniquely hers. “It was the longest wig I have ever seen [this is thanks to several very special hair donors who donated 16+” hair!],” says Chad. “I softened it up by adding layers to give the hair more movement and make it even more natural looking.”
Since receiving her new hair system, Kaydence is a typical middle-schooler. She loves styling it, using a curling wand to add large voluminous curls, and putting it in a low bun or braid when playing volleyball and high ponytail for soccer.
This spring, Kaydence and Chad appeared onstage together at America’s Beauty Show to share their story and how Wigs For Kids helped enrich both of their lives.
Though they were only onstage for a few minutes, the positive effects are much more far-reaching. Chad, who has built a career helping others look and feel good, is helping spread the word about Wigs For Kids and how other stylists can give back, inspiring new hairdressers who were at the show. And for Kaydence, she met another Wigs For Kids Recipient on stage who is a lot younger and they exchanged phone numbers. Kaydence says she could help mentor her as they are going through the same adversity.
Wigs For Kids is so welcoming and accepting. They have helped me gain much more confidence and are helping many other children like me.– Kaydence