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The fantastic way dads and sons support 7th grader with alopecia

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Oxana A | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 12/07/22

While battling with his health condition, Thatcher Johnson received unexpected help from classmates and their dads.

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It’s difficult being a teenager at the best of times, but when you’re dealing with a visible health condition, it’s especially hard.

This is just the case for 13-year-old Thatcher Johnson, who has alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes patients to lose their hair, either completely or in patches.

The seventh grader from Minnesota explained to CBS News how he is just like millions of other kids: “I like football, basketball, baseball. I play video games.”

So Thatcher made the decision to have a head-shaving party with his dad, saying “I didn’t really want to stick out. I wanted other people to be there with me so it would be easier.”

As his mom, Mandi Johnson, pointed out: “With alopecia comes depression and anxiety and fear and embarrassment. And all those things that are icky feelings.”

However, when he went to shave his head he was met with a surprise. Not only did his dad take the plunge, some of his classmates and their dads decided to lend their support by getting rid of their hair, too.

“I was very surprised. I thought it was going to be my dad for sure but I didn’t know anyone else was going to do it,” said the teen.

“I was emotional. I got teary-eyed pretty much every time someone else would sit down,” shared Mandi Johnson, adding: “Since his buddies have done this for him he’s had nothing but good feelings. I think these boys don’t quite understand how impactful it is. Maybe when they are adults or parents of their own, they might understand, but it’s really powerful. And we are very thankful.”

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