Learning to be bold
Twelve-year-old Silas DeHaven, from DeWitt, Iowa, enjoyed his fourth year at Camp Discovery.
My name is Silas, and I like going to Camp Discovery. It’s nice to see other kids like me, kids who know about these skin conditions.
My favorite thing to do is spend time at the waterfront swimming and boating and things like that. One of my favorite pictures is of me at camp with the second biggest fish I ever caught. I actually caught a bigger fish that day, too, but I was saving my film so I didn’t get another picture of the bigger one; that’s okay. I also liked doing my trick in the talent show. I can be shy, but the talent show was fun because I liked surprising everyone and making them laugh.
I started going to Camp Discovery because I have vitiligo, but right before I went — only a few weeks before — all my eyelashes fell out. It turned out that I have alopecia, too, which is another thing you might see kids at camp have. I didn’t know if it would only ever be my eyelashes, or if I’d lose other hair, too. Right now I’m starting to lose an eyebrow and as for my eyelashes, some stayed gone but others come and go every few months. The bad part is when I lose them, they're always getting into my eyes and are scratchy. The hair on my head is still there so far, and I’ll see what happens.
When I learned about alopecia, I was a little worried about what it would be like if more hair — a lot more hair — went away, because that can happen. You can start out losing some hair, but you don’t really know what will happen from there about other hair. It reminded me of dealing with vitiligo. You don’t really know if a lot more patches of no skin pigment will happen, or only some. With alopecia sometimes hair comes back, sometimes it never does. Sometimes you might lose more — it’s not very predictable. Would I feel shy about it? I was worried I might.
When I went to camp right after I was diagnosed, I met a few kids with alopecia who had no hair. One drew pictures on her head with markers every day, and it looked really cool; I loved that idea. I decided that if I ever lost more hair like her, I would really like to do that, too — express myself and have fun with it like that. Without them even knowing it, seeing her and other kids with alopecia who were confident and happy showed me that I could be confident and happy with alopecia, too. They showed me that I didn’t have to be nervous or shy about it. I guess what I really mean to say is that it’s so comforting to see other kids like you when you’re at Camp Discovery.
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