Student of the Month Charlie Thompson helping others appreciate what makes them different

Our first KCRG-TV9 Student of the Month for this school year is Charlie Thompson.
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 7:59 AM CDT
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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - The first KCRG-TV9 Student of the Month for this school year is Charlie Thompson. She’s helping her classmates understand that what makes them different makes them special.

Charlie loves school, and gymnastics.

“I like doing cartwheels, and handstands, and it’s really fun because I get to see most of my friends there,” she said. Her teammates and coaches embrace and encourage her. Charlie always tries to see the positive, with a big smile on her face.

“The most important thing about Charlie is she just has one of those smiles that is just super contagious,” said her mom, Ashley Thompson.

Charlie was diagnosed with alopecia universalis when she was just five years old. It’s an autoimmune disease that has caused all her hair, even eyelashes and eyebrows, to fall out twice now. Her parents help her understand her disease, so she can explain when people ask her.

“Alopecia unfortunately is one of those diseases that we don’t know much about, there’s no cure for it, there probably never will be, but teaching children especially how to be confident, and understand how to deal with it, is more important than anything,” said Ashley.

This week is homecoming week at her school, one Charlie and her family used to dread because of crazy hair day. Charlie donated a book called, “What is Silly Hair Day with No Hair?” It helps explain her alopecia. Her school and surrounding daycares now host a silly hat day or something similar instead for homecoming week.

The Thompsons are involved with the Children’s Alopecia Project, to meet with others who relate and look like Charlie. September is Alopecia Awareness Month. Charlie wanted to do something to have fun with her friends while also raising awareness that alopecia is normal and nothing to be scared of.

Alopecia Awareness Family Fun Day in Centennial Park in North Liberty is Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be a fun run, inflatables, crafts, games, and all kinds of other fun events.

“I’m really excited to do it because there’s lots of fun stuff to do there,” Charlie said.