Years with Alopecia: Angeli Evangelista’s inspiring Rapunzel-like story

Shara Mae Balce
PUBLISHED December 5, 2017 10:40 am | UPDATED December 5, 2017 01:10 pm

(Inside Manila) Hair is considered as women’s crown: may it be short or long. It has a significance in every woman’s life as it is usually associated with beauty and youthfulness.


Thinking that this crown could be taken off from her, Angeli Evangelista, 22, discovered this condition that challenged her confidence and conviction of her own worth—Alopecia areata.


Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing it to fall off.


Angeli is currently taking Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at Adamson University in Manila. She was diagnosed with a hair-loss condition in 2013 which made her to decide to stop attending school for a while.



Photo courtesy of Angel Evangelista/Facebook


In an interview of Inside Manila, Angeli shared how this condition became her downfall and how she conquered it, making her inspiring story worth sharing.


“Una, hindi mo sya mapapansin kasi parang normal lang s’yang hairfall. Usual, ‘pag sa shower. Mag-i-start lang sya pag may mga patches na. Pag ‘yun na, alarming na siya kasi ‘yung nangyari sa akin akala ko wala lang…’yung pala alopecia na s’ya,” she said.


“Nakalbo na talaga ako. Nag-usap kami ng family ko kung kaya ko ba? Kaya ko bang pumasok nang ganoon ‘yung hitsura. Kaya ko bang pumasok nang ganoon ‘yung kundisyon. Kasi kahit sabihin ko na magbo-bonnet ako, hindi talaga ako prepared. Lolokohin ko lang ‘yung sarili ko na kaya ko,” she shared.


Her journey conquering this gradual hair-loss condition made her realize the real importance and value of hair.


The normal life she is living has been withheld from her after she almost lost her self-esteem.


Optimism and Faithfulness


Angeli admitted that even though she did not experience verbal bullying, she felt that she was being judged through the way people look at her.


“Walang verbal pero makikita mo sa mata nila. ‘Yung tingin, kasi offending pa rin na ‘yung kapag tinitingnan ka parang jina-judge ka nila na ‘bakit siya naka-bonnet.’ Kasi pag nagbo-bonnet naka-down ‘yung hair, pero ‘yung hitsura ko noon parang may cancer. ‘Yung pisikal ko, malusog tapos kakaiba na, ay wala siyang buhok.”


But this did not hinder the optimistic and cheerful Angeli to stop from fighting. She believed that this is just a challenge that she can overcome amid all other things she is going through.


“Kailangan maniwala ka lang na kaya mo. Iyong sa tingin mo end na…just don’t stop,” Angeli said.


With the never-ending support from her family, Angeli stood up and believed that Alopecia would not stop her from continuing to live her life to the fullest.


“Every week na mayroon akong clinic, sasamahan nila ako. Kasi iyon, malaking effort na iyon para sa akin kasi nga ang layo-layo ng Manila eh tapos lagi lang akong sasabihan ng Mama ko na, kaya ko,” she said.


“Since sa Philippine General Hospital (PGH) nagwo-work iyong Dad ko, sabay kami laging umuuwi kapag hapon. Tapos nalulungkot siya. Kasi parang nakikita daw niya iyong mga ibang student na sabay silang uuwi ng Daddy niya. Eh kami, usually ganoon (na) kami. Doon ko naano na, hindi ko kailangan mag-give-up. Wala akong reason para hindi ko kayanin to,” she added.


After one semester of stopping from attending school, Angeli came back to finish her study. Although her hair is still not fully grown that time, she just wears it like no other, facing the reality that whatever other people will say about her, accepting herself and her condition is the only way to escape from the judgmental ground.


“Naniwala lang ako na hindi pa tapos. Kung tutubo man o hindi, alam mo iyon, may wig naman pwede naman talaga akong mag-wig. Kung hahayaan ko na, iyong sakit na iyon ang maging…(dahilan) na ayoko na lumabas ng bahay, ayoko nang mag-aral. Worth it ba na mag-give up ako dahil lang nagkasakit ako?” Angeli said.


Active and Talented


Just one semester away and Angeli will graduate, hopefully with flying colors. She is currently having her on-the-job training in Makati.


Aside from this, she is also active in their school activities—academic and extra-curricular. Angeli is part of the school’s dance troupe whom she performs with during special programs and events.



Angeli performing during Adamson University's Media Summit 2017. Photo courtesy of Angeli Evangelista/Facebook


Even though the exact cause of her condition is still indefinite and the complete cure has not been found, Angeli continues her treatment with her doctor and with the care of her loving family.


She may be like other typical students, but Angeli’s optimism and courage is like a queen’s that will never fade and lose by just dethroning the crown. It will live in the hearts of people she inspired and in the core of a strong and brave millennial, who made all things possible by believing in self.


Angeli is encouraging everyone who struggles and those experiencing the same condition with her saying: “Hindi pa end. Marami pang bagay na pwede mo pang ma-experience…pwede mo pang magawa. Hindi ka pilay, hindi ka bulag. Kung sila nga eh nakakagawa sila ng wonderful things.”


“Siguro rin maging totoo ka sa sarili mo. Huwag kang matakot na may sakit ka. Hindi naman nakakabawas ng pagkatao ‘yon. Sa atin hindi naman importanteng may buhok ka o wala, basta mabuting tao tayo,” she added.

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