Bald, Bold, and Confident
The Childrens Alopecia Project, or CAP, was created in 2004 by Jeff Woytovich. His daughter Madison contracted the hair loss disease a year earlier while her mother was unbraiding her hair after a wedding.
Alopecia is an auto-immune disease that involves hair follicles being mistakenly attacked resulting in almost complete hair loss for most victims. The disease has affected approximately 4 million Americans.
CAP was created essentially to help Madison overcome her fears about losing her hair, and to face the problem with confidence. However, the project grew and eventually became a way for families impacted by Alopecia to connect and work together.
There are currently 15 CAP support groups in the United States, and there are even a few in other parts of the world. Hong Kong, Canada, South America, and Russia all have CAP networks.
Each network around the country has monthly events for kids and families to come together to enjoy one another’s company.
The final day of Hope Week was a sweltering summer day, and the Yankees planned on surprising 18 CAP kids at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers football player was also in attendance. He brings the message that being paralyzed from the neck down didn’t hinder his ability to keep going in life; it only made him stronger.
LeGrand along with a host of Yankee players and legends showed up to greet the kids. Manager Joe Girardi was also there.
Current players included Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Ivan Nova, Alex Rodriguez, Cory Wade, and Dewayne Wise along with legends Darryl Strawberry, Reggie Jackson, and David Wells.
The day began with a ceremony from the participants, along with a few words from LeGrand and a few of the Yankee players. Then, the fun commenced.
The kids took part in head painting, a scavenger hunt, and arts and crafts. They even got to paint some of the players, notably David Wells, who could be seen with a head (and face) full of paint.
Overall, this was a day to learn about CAP and how it was created with the intentions of helping one girl get past some struggles. It became a group of people and families working together through different networks so that they could be accepted.