More than 3.2 million children are the victims of bullying each year. From teasing and harassment to threats and physical aggression, bullying can be conducted in person or even online, where 43% of teens report having been bullied. Despite the sometimes serious consequences of this behavior, one in four teachers sees nothing wrong with it and, consequently, intervene in only 4% of incidents, according to the National Mental Health and Education Center for Children and Families.
Aolani, a vibrant, biracial 8-year-old, dreamt of having long flowing hair like her grandmother. After begging her mother and grandmother for two years, they finally allowed her to get hair extensions. Upon returning to school with her new hair, however, Aolani says she was bullied by her classmates, who not only called her names but also pulled on her hair, eventually damaging the stitching of the weave. Within two weeks, Aolani’s scalp had become so badly infected from her hair being pulled out that doctors warned her hair may never grow back.
“I just wanted to give my baby her dream," Dorris, Aolani's grandmother says, in tears. "She just wanted long hair to comb and play with."
"The damage that I saw is pretty severe," Dr. Yazdan says. "This is one of the worst cases that I've seen, but what's nice is she's still young and, of course, children have higher regenerative capacity than do adults. So, I think there is some hope that some hair will grow back."
Dr. Yazdan explains that a procedure called PRP injections may be the answer to ensuring Aolani's scalp heals properly and allows for hair regrowth. The procedure involves taking a concentration of platelets from a patient's blood that are high in growth factors and healing agents, activating them and injecting them into the scalp. The injections should help decrease the inflammation, increase wound healing and help regenerate hair growth.
"The bottom line is that there is hope, and we're going to do our best so that she does get some hair back, and she won't have to wear a wig for the rest of her life," Dr. Yazdan says.
The Doctors surprise a relieved Aolani with a couple of special guests from SeaWorld! In addition, Aolani and her family will enjoy a two-night, three-day trip to SeaWord Orlando, complete with airfare, hotel and tickets to the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction.