Plano Student’s Personal Experience with Alopecia Inspires Fundraiser

Strands of Hope founder Tiffany Hwang // photos Hunter Lacey
Strands of Hope founder Tiffany Hwang // photos Hunter Lacey

Tiffany Hwang, a senior at Plano East Senior High, has dealt with alopecia throughout her life. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out in patches. At times, the condition can lie dormant, but certain events can trigger a flare-up. For Tiffany, that trigger is stress.

“My alopecia was triggered my junior year of high school, so last year. Going through the whole experience of losing my hair, it was a bit traumatizing. It deteriorated my self-confidence,” Tiffany remembered.

While struggling through the experience of her own hair loss journey, Tiffany experienced gratitude as well. Her parents were able to buy her a wig, but she immediately thought of children with alopecia who could not afford one.

“Going through this myself, I wanted to help children out there going through the same experience and help them regain their confidence,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany Hwang // photos Hunter Lacey
Tiffany Hwang // photos Hunter Lacey

In October of 2019, Tiffany started a two-fold hair donation campaign and named it Strands of Hope. She gathers financial donations which go directly to Wigs for Kids, an organization that provides wigs for children at no cost to the children or their families.

Tiffany has also set up the opportunity for the public to donate hair. On her website, locals can book an appointment with a hair stylist to get a free haircut and then donate the hair. When setting up Strands of Hope, Tiffany reached out to hairstylists across DFW to find stylists willing to cut hair for free specifically for her cause. She found five hair stylists, and they’ve been cutting hair for Strands of Hope for over a year now.

Both aspects of Strands of Hope are still ongoing. Tiffany surpassed her original goal of financial donations, and is now hoping for the public’s help in reaching her goal of $3,600.

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