In Australia, a girl finally embraced her fuzzy hair that made her different.
Shilah Madison Calvert-Yin, 10, has an uncombable hair syndrome. A rare genetic condition where her hair shafts are heart-shaped and missing a protein that straightens it.
Sadly, this condition caused her to be bullied by her classmates and playmates saying it looks like “she’s stuck her finger in a power socket”.
This endless mockery led to Shilah cutting off her own hair in frustration when she was younger.
Over the years, the tough little girl learned to embrace her fuzzy locks and decided to celebrate her unique looks.
Shilah is posting inspirational pictures with her 15,000 Instagram followers saying that she wants to “show other children there’s nothing wrong with being different”
“I get teased a lot and called ‘fluffhead’ at school – it’s not nice,” she said. “I personally like it now but at the same time, I hate it – especially when there’s wind! Let’s just say, I can’t see!”
Her mom, Celeste, said that a lot of people reach out to them through social media.
“Comments have been both supportive and ugly, but we are happy to be spreading awareness and being part of a community that reaches all over the world,” Celeste said.
The 39-year-old mom knew her daughter was different when she was just three months old.
“Her brown baby hair had fallen out as it should but this weird fuzz started to come through and grow straight up,” she told Daily Star. “It was like nothing you’d ever seen before!”
Shilah’s unique hair frequently draws attention and it led to people taking pictures of her without asking, some even try to touch or grab her hair.
In 2014, Shilah joined a Jurassic Park-themed excavation activity for kids and wore a lab coat as her outfit. Celeste said that people were making observations about her daughter’s appearance.
“A stranger likened her to Doc Brown from Back To The Future which even though it’s my favorite film, I never considered, but she did look exactly like Doc or Einstein,” Celeste recalled. “It has now become a sort of in-house joke!”
As Shilah got older, her hair becomes drier and brittle making it matted overnight, adding that detangling her locks have always been a painful process for her.
At age four, Shilah got stressed out of her hair not growing past her shoulder so she decided to cut her hair off.
It took over two years for Shilah’s hair to grow back and she got self-conscious so she wore a headscarf to hide it.
“I was more distraught than she was, she decided that she was sick of her hair sticking straight up but when she cut short it the opposite happened and it became spikier,” Celeste said. “That’s the only haircut she’s ever had!”
Shilah wasn’t diagnosed with uncombable hair syndrome until she was 7 years old.
“Her dentist was concerned about how weak her teeth were and the anesthetist who was scheduled with Shilah was the one who noticed her hair and told us about uncombable hair syndrome,” Celeste said.
Apparently, the doctor had done a study on genetics and abnormalities and knew all about UHS, but had never met a child with her condition.
“I was shocked, teary, and excited at the same time, finally there was an answer to all those years of questions!” Celeste added. “What were the chances, out of all the doctors in Melbourne, that we would meet this one?”
“She told us she had never heard about anyone in Australia with it and never expected to meet a child like Shilah – she’s one-in-a-million!” Celeste said.
Shilah’s rare hair condition develops in childhood and affected children who have light-colored hair with a silvery sheen, and causes weakened enamel, porous bones, and brittle fingernails.
“You panic when you hear doctors talk about cell mutations but fortunately Shilah has only broken one bone in her life and now we are careful about her bones and teeth,” Celeste said.