By David Fleet
Goodrich- Hats off to Emily Koon.
But just until Jan.19 when the Martian Varsity basketball teams take on Beecher High School at home.
Koon, 17, a GHS Senior is currently selling Martian hats for $20 embossed with ‘Bald is beautiful’ as her Capstone project. Her mission is to raise awareness of Alopecia Areata, a autoimmune skin disease, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. It affects as many as 6.8 million people in the U.S.
Koon was diagnosed when she was just 3 years old.
“My hair was thin but it kind of grew back at first,” said Koon. “Then at 9 years old I had a full head of thick hair.”
In July 2017 she contracted a skin infection which shut down her immune system.
“I would run my hand through my hair and big wads of hair would come out,” she said. “It was so embarrassing. I had to stuff my hair in my packet when it came out in public. I just did not know what to do with it. So, in October, my dad and I shaved our heads bald. He has been my best friend through all this as very supportive.. Actually, after than it’s a lot easier to take care of now.”
Koon, who will graduate this spring had her senior pictures retaken after her was removed.
“I just want everyone to know it’s OK to be different and accept what you can’t change in life,” she said. “Your confidence is the most beautiful thing you can have.”
Koon is treated by a dermatologist each month receiving often painful scalp injections.
“There’s no cure for Alopecia Areata,” she said. “But we can manage it through diet and medication.”
Koon is planning on attending Michigan State University in the fall to study medicine.
The hats allow free admission to the boys and girls Beecher vs. Goodrich Varsity Basketball games on Jan. 19 at Goodrich High School. Checks can be sent to 8029 S. Gale Road, Goodrich, MI 48438 and written out to Goodrich High School. The will also be available at the game.
Above, Emily Koon’s senior pictures.
By David Fleet