• The woman behind the bald emoji petition suffers from alopecia areata. (Twitter / SBS)Source: Twitter / SBS
"This disease may take over my head, but I refuse to let it take over my life."
Ben Winsor

17 Jan 2017 - 2:01 PM  UPDATED 17 Jan 2017 - 2:31 PM

Jade Jarvis suffers from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease causing hair-loss as the body attacks its own cells.

The disease has also led to a loss of sight in the 24-year-old’s right eye.

“Finding out that I didn’t have a brain tumor or anything related to my heart was such a huge relief,” the British woman wrote on her blog, Life on a Strand.

“However, I have been told that sudden loss of eyesight is something that I could suffer with for the rest of my life,” she wrote.

Jarvis – determined not to be ashamed of her condition – launched her blog last year.

It was the first time she had been totally public about having alopecia areata.

“I was always scared of what people would think, or what they would say. I was scared of people laughing or pointing at me and I was worried that they would judge me,” she wrote.

“I wouldn’t leave the house without my extensions in, just to try and stop people from seeing my bald patches.”

“I was known for a while as ‘Flower Power!’ No one knew, but the reason I wore a flower every day was actually to cover the round patch of missing hair from the top of my head, not because I was trying to make a fashion statement,” Jarvis wrote.

Jarvis' hair preparation routine

But now, everyone knows.

Jarvis has been profiled in The Sun, one of the UK’s most popular daily tabloids, and the BBC has covered her change.org petition to get Apple to support a new, bald emoji.

“There are plenty of politically correct emojis,” Jarvis wrote, “just none clearly showing a person without hair.”

“I feel that by adding a bald male and female we could spread awareness and make this sensitive subject more socially acceptable,” she said.

A number of the 180 people who have signed the petition so far have said they have alopecia areata, or have friends or family members who do. 

“I think if people were able to use one, it would speak volumes,” Jarvis said.

Alopecia areata affects rougly 1.7 per cent of the population, and can cause varying levels of hair loss, often starting in childhood.

Emoji releases are decided by the Unicode Consortium, an industry group with representatives from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM and Google. 

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