By Patrick Slack, Staff Writer
Maggie Anderson is just like any 8-year-old girl.
She loves to be active and have fun, with a list of hobbies too long to count, according to her mother Lisa Anderson.
Maggie, from Rice, is also healthy, but has alopecia totalis, the loss of all scalp hair, for which there is no cure.
“She loves swimming, she loves playing house, any little thing inside,” Lisa said. “Just a very fun, active little girl. She loves to cook. She can make cookies all by herself – I do the part with the oven – but she just loves all that stuff. She’s a wonderful little girl.”
There is no set age for when alopecia totalis, an autoimmune disorder, will occur, with Maggie getting it when she was about 15 months old.
“We find it a blessing, if she were going to get it, that she got it at such a young age,” Lisa said.
Around the time Maggie turned 3, Lisa called Peggy Knight, a foundation that specializes in hair replacement solutions, to look into a potential solution.
“They said, ‘Don’t spend a lot of money right now, just buy a cheap one. Second or third grade is when she’s really going to want to start wearing one,’” Lisa said.
Now, a benefit will be held for Maggie to be able to receive a longer-lasting, high-quality wig before she enters third grade this fall.
The type of wig that will allow Maggie to run and swim while wearing it and put into pigtails will cost $4,000.
“They usually last up to three years,” Lisa said. “It can last longer. It’s nice quality, but obviously Maggie is young and her head will grow. The fitting they can do inside allows it to grow with their head.
“They are quite expensive, but the quality and how they wear is unbelievable,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about them falling off and they make them look more natural.”
The comfort level is also much greater than many other wigs that tend to be hot, sweaty and itchy.
Maggie has not had the ability to style her hair with previous wigs, something she is eagerly looking forward to.
“One of the things Maggie has expressed is being able to do pigtails, to even comb it,” Lisa said. “One of the biggest things she would like is to take a shower with her wig on.”
When Maggie receives her new wig, she will get to visit a salon and have it styled.
“Maggie is excited,” she said. “We get to go into a salon and they cut it so it looks more natural. Maggie said, ‘I just can’t wait for them to wash my hair in the shampoo,’” Lisa said.
The idea for the benefit came about when Lisa was talking with two of her co-workers, Amy Danielson and Lori Schneider.
“We would just always talk about it and how it was kind of expensive,” Lisa said. “We talked for months at a time and all of a sudden they came up to me (with the idea).
“At first I was against it, but they sat me down and said ‘It’s for Maggie, don’t think of it for yourself, think of it for her.’ It’s been going really good and people have been wonderful,” she said.
Quickly, the entire community of Rice rallied around the idea, helping set up the benefit for Maggie.
“It means a lot to me,” Lisa said. “I get emotional (thinking about it). People are getting involved that don’t even know Maggie. It’s been wonderful. They’re just wonderful.”
The Maggie Anderson benefit spaghetti dinner and silent auction will take place at Sal’s Bar and Grill in St. Joseph, Friday, Aug. 9, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monetary donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank designated to “The Maggie Anderson Alopecia Fund,” and silent auction donations can be delivered to Sal’s Bar and Grill.
Any additional funds raised will be put into a trust for Maggie to purchase future wigs.
For more information on the benefit, contact Amy Danielson at (320) 420-4080 or Lori Schneider at (320) 266-2437.