HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Clients and associates call Allyson Wyld one of the most talented hairdressers they have ever met.
The Henrico woman, who has no hair herself, has been cutting and styling hair for 25 years.
Wyld was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 10.
The disease rejects body hair from head to toe.
“I have a beautiful head," Wyld said. "I think I was meant to be bald.”
She lost her hair in two weeks while she was in the 5th grade.
While Wyld wore a wig to hide her condition, it was little comfort as she endured verbal insults and physical assaults.
"This boy tried pulling my wig off on the last day of school so he wouldn’t get in trouble on the bus in front of everyone," she said. "I will never forget that. It was pretty cruel."
Those early challenges shaped who she is today.
“It helps me see the good in everyone,” she said.
And now Wyld is inspiring others by volunteering with the Children's Alopecia Project.
“I felt like I was surrounded by my tribe," Wyld said.
She also lends her talents fighting childhood cancer by shaving heads to raise money for St. Baldrick’s.
“I want to make sure no one else walks through the fire I walked through,” she said.
After nearly 35 years of stares and questions, she is finally comfortable in her own skin.
Wyld may not need luscious locks, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to work with them.
“Hair is my passion because I don’t have any," Wyld said. "It's what I think about.”
Customers applaud their friend’s bravery.
“I love Allyson. I’ve known Allyson for years," client Stephanie Medlin said. "I think it is great to embrace this and be open with it and promote awareness.”
“Sometimes that is how people find their gifts -- and she definitely has a gift," another client, Megan Smith, said.
Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email email@example.com.
Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" features. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to view more "Heroes Among Us" reports.