Gabe and I had just finished an anti-bullying school assembly, and were doing our post presentation Meet & Greet.
This young girl approached me and began to speak, asking me if she could talk to me. I said, “Why sure, what’s going on?” With tear-filled eyes, she informs me “I have no hair.” She then began her heart-breaking experiences of her classmates making fun of her.
My heart began to melt. I inquired if she had alopecia; a condition causing a person’s hair to fall out. She said, yes. Tears filled her beautiful brown eyes began to roll down her face.
She proceeded to tell me that if she wears a wig to cover her baldness, she’s made fun of; and if she doesn’t wear her wig, she’s made fun of! No matter what she does she’s repetitively made fun of.
I hugged her close, I could feel her pain. Then she told me Gabe’s message was so powerful that she realized today she’s not Alopecia; and having no hair would not define who she is. She then said, she was inspired and moved to the point she is never wearing her wig again. She is ok with what she looks like and she will never forget Gabe and Izzy’s message.
As Gabe’s mom, it’s moments and stories like this that move me to help advance anti-bullying work which Gabe and I started so many years ago. How can we let this story fade away when there are so many other students who need to learn that their actions are hurting their classmates?
Another reason I feel our message must go on is because a male student who later wrote and told us he was planning on taking his life, but realized that if Gabe could overcome so much he could too. He ask, please take your story all over the U.S., and all over the world.
Not long after Penguin Random House Publishing approached Gabe and I, sharing it was a unison decision at Penguin that Gabe had a lot to say to America’s youth. They asked her to write a youth book.
Gabe and Izzy Standing Up for America’s Youth is now available. Student’s love it, and teachers have said, every student should be required to listen to this recorded book.