Aleena Smith, 6, of Dundee bravely adjusts to hair loss
Aleena Smith, 6, of Dundee bravely adjusts to hair loss

All children get excited for their birthday. There is the excitement of going to school to celebrate and then it continues with a party at home with presents to open.

This was no different for Aleena Smith, who recently turned 6 years old.

Aleena, the daughter of Bill Smith and Shawna Vore of Dundee, was just like any other child on her birthday. The slender, blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl with a sweet smile could not wait to get her day started.

But if you are a stranger, like myself, and arrived at the family home, Aleena likes to wear a ball cap.

“She feels most comfortable with her head covered around people who are not our close family and friends,” Shawna said.

Aleena Smith, 6, was all smiles at Dundee Elementary as she wore a birthday crown given to her by teacher Leah Erickson, who placed it on the youngster's head in Young Fives class. For more photos of Allena, see page A8.

Aleena started to lose her hair last November this past January was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out.

“Since then, we have good days and bad ones,” Shawna said. “Aleena sometimes feels bad and says, `Why did God make me this way?’ ”

“I try to stay positive,” Shawna added. “Aleena tells me, ‘I just want to be a normal kid.’ ”