Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
That’s the message Lake Country residents Makayla Krenzel and her mother, Becky, are sharing.
When Makayla was two, she was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease Alopecia Areata, which caused her to lose her hair.
Now, the Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School student is a Canadian Alopecia Areata Ambassador, spreading awareness for the disease.
“It’s a very self-conscious thing. We identify ourselves with the way we look,” said Becky.
But it didn’t stop Makayla from being herself. She’s an active dancer and refuses to wear a wig.
She finds them itchy, she said, and will be dancing bald in her upcoming solo performance with the Lake Country School of Dance in Vancouver Feb. 10 and 11.
The dance studio wanted Makayla to wear a wig, but she refused.
The company Liberty and Grace is donating wigs for the performers, so Makayla agreed to wear one if the other girls did, said Becky.
“She said ‘mom I don’t like the way they feel. This is the way I am mom, why would I change?’ I think that’s the biggest thing, I think she doesn’t feel comfortable,” said Becky.
The competition is called Velocity, and she will have the opportunity to perform in Las Vegas if she makes it to the next round.
The 10-year-old is also trying out for Team Canada, which will be performing in Germany.
Becky said it’s good for Makayla to experience the world.
“Living in Kelowna you’re kind of in a bubble… (when) you’re out of your element you realize how many people are looking at you, so with Team Canada (it was a big step for her.)”
Makayla won’t see if she made the team until the end of February.
But, with the help of friends and family, she holds her head with pride.
“I have good support,” said Makayla.
Her younger sister Cruz, will joke with her and tell her to do her hair in the morning.
While Makayla isn’t bullied, she finds it irritating when people want to touch her head, she said.
Becky is a also an Alopecia Areata group support leader in the Okanagan after she realized there weren’t support groups.
“People look at her and (assume) she’s got cancer,” said Becky, aiming to provide support for people with similar cases like Makayla’s.
Becky plans to hold a support group in March at the Rutland Library.