The Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation is a Canadian registered charity led by volunteers who have personal experience with Alopecia Areata. Their purpose is to offer a support network for families living with the condition, raise funds for research, provide education, and promote awareness of this autoimmune disease. We spoke with Sarah Badley who serves as a mentor for youth and teens in her community, providing guidance and support as they navigate various challenges in life to find out more about what they do.
What is your charity/non-profit/volunteer work, and what problem does it aim to solve?
The Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation (CANAAF) supports those affected by Alopecia Areata, promotes awareness and education about this auto-immune disease, and raises funds for research.
My work with CANAAF aims to connect with others who have AA and create a safe space for people to connect, especially in and around Vancouver. We hope to help individuals cope with their condition and find a sense of community. We strive to provide guidance, empathy, and a listening ear to young individuals who are navigating the challenges of living with AA.
The support group is an important platform for Vancouverites affected by AA to come together, share their stories, and provide mutual support. This group serves as a sanctuary where individuals can find solace in knowing that they are not alone in their experiences. Through regular meetings, whether in person or online, we create a nurturing environment where individuals can discuss their challenges, seek advice, and build meaningful connections with others who share a similar journey.
When did you start/join it?
I attended a support group meeting in Newfoundland and Labrador, back in December 2021 and started as a mentee with CANAAF about a year ago.
What made you want to get involved?
Having experienced the power of a supportive community firsthand, I felt a strong desire to give back and provide that same support to others going through similar situations. I would say that it was my own journey with alopecia areata, combined with a deep empathy for those facing similar challenges, that compelled me to take action and become actively involved in supporting individuals with the condition.
What was the situation like when you first started, and how has it changed since?
When I first started, I felt quite alone and isolated. I didn’t know anyone with the condition, and it was difficult to find resources and support. Since joining CANAAF and starting the Vancouver support group, I have connected with many others who share my experience, and I have been able to offer support to others as well. The virtual support group that I started has also helped to bring people together from all over Canada.
What more needs to be done? How can our readers help?
There is still a lot of work to be done to increase awareness and understanding of alopecia areata. Many people are not familiar with the condition and may not know how to support someone who has it.
Readers can help by educating themselves and others about alopecia and supporting organizations like CANAAF that are working to provide resources and support to those affected.
Do you have any upcoming events or initiatives?
In BC, we are currently planning virtual events for the support group, including guest speakers and social events. For June events, you may check out here. We also have a fundraising event planned for later this year. You can stay tuned to our social media for the latest updates.
CANAAF is also organizing the CANAAF COME TOGETHER Conference from July 21 st to July 23 rd, 2023, in Ontario. The conference focuses on raising awareness about alopecia and supporting affected individuals and families.
Where can we follow you?
Readers can visit our website to learn more about CANAAF and find resources for individuals with alopecia areata. They can also follow us on social media to stay up to date on events and initiatives: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
I am a big animal lover and have two dogs, so I would like to give a shoutout to the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). They do amazing work to rescue and care for animals in need, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact they can have on the lives of animals and their humans.