Je’Mia E. Jones has an effervescent spirit that embraces building upon brands and developing lifelong relationships. This can be seen through her many positions and titles in which she currently holds. Je’Mia is the Program Director for the state of Georgia-based programming for the Melvin W. Jones Foundation, Inc. She is also the Camp Director for their newest initiative Camp Strand, an Alopecia Areata camp for kids and adolescents who have the condition. The camp is very special to Je’Mia as she has lived with alopecia areata universalis since the age of 5 and always wanted to provide support for families impacted. In addition, Je’Mia is a member of the Executive Board for Color Comm Atlanta, an organization for women of color working within the field of communication and serves as the Sponsorship Manager.
Dear Alopecia Areata,
When I first met you I didn’t understand you. You made me sad all the time. You caused me to be bullied and teased daily. I never looked like anyone else in my family or friend circle. You started off as small patches of missing hair and later made me completely bald. You were so mean that you took my eyelashes and eyebrows too. You gave me the most severe of its kind, Alopecia Areata Universalis. You tricked me and allowed my hair to regrow in places only to take it from me again. You confused my parents as they watched clumps of hair fall into the sink at the age of 5. Because of you, I had to visit the Mayo Clinic and get a shot directly into my scalp to see if my hair follicles could be stimulated for growth. I had to wear a wig at age 6 to feel normal. You made people question if I had cancer or if I were a boy or girl even though I would be wearing a dress. Can you imagine how that made me feel? I didn’t learn to swim at that time because you caused me to not be comfortable being the only one of my friends who had to wear a swim cap to get in the pool so that my hair would be secure. I didn’t ride rollercoasters and rides like my other friends because there weren’t many adhesives that could secure my hair, and I was frightened that during the ride the strong wind would cause it to fall into the abyss of caps, souvenirs, and memorabilia that was seen many feet beneath me. You caused me to despise you, but thanks to my wonderful family and friends I never felt sorry for myself…just felt alone at times. You caused me to feel different.
What I didn’t know is that being DIFFERENT would be rewarding. You helped to sculpt who I would become. I now have an opportunity to share my journey with children, adolescents, and adults that have difficulty accepting living with the condition. I also created a special initiative, Camp Strand, to help bring families together as well. Who knew that years later the web would allow me to now connect with others who would look just like me and the hair industry would evolve and everyone would wear wigs, weaves, and extensions. I wear all types of hair styles and colors, and they lay just right because I have no hair underneath to make it bulky. After being out on a hot day I can let the cool water cascade down my bald head without having to worry about messing up my hair. I can draw my eyebrows any shape or color I want. As an adult, I don’t have to worry about waxing, shaving, threading and I can get ready a lot faster than other ladies as they struggle to curl, flat iron, and style their hair. What a difference you’ve made in my life. Thank You Alopecia Areata for making me the woman I am today.