Rock Hill resident Charlie Walker knew she had to make her grandfather proud. So she went to his funeral without her wig.
Walker, 17, was diagnosed at age seven with Alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
Walker has worn wigs since childhood, but recently embraced her baldness as a way to honor her “paw-paw,” who died last month and from whom Charlotte, aka Charlie, got her name.
“He gave me flowers when I went out bald once, so I went to his funeral without my hair,” Walker said. “Ever since then I got more confident with it. He would’ve been proud of me.”
Walker’s mom Rachel Walker said her father loved seeing Charlie out without her wig.
“It’s a wonderful way to honor him, and it’s given her so much strength,” Rachel said.
Walker is sharing her new-found confidence with others. She started a Facebook page, Bella Bald, that celebrates self-love. Bella is a term related to the Spanish, Italian and Latin words for beautiful.
On her page, Walker shared photos of herself without a wig.
“I want to inspire people, that they don’t have to always cover up who they are like I was with my wigs,” Walker said. “I want them to be comfortable and know they are beautiful without their hair.”
Some of the quotes Walker has shared on her Facebook page reflect that message.
“There is no real beauty without some slight imperfection. Love yourself.”