Mary Catherine Anderson
I have been a patient with Alopecia Universalis for more than 16 years. I have been volunteering with CANAAF for a few years and have met so many kind and fantastic patients, parents and family members within the Alopecia community.
I am a chef and recipe developer working in Toronto.
I write and develop recipes for culinary instruction at St Lawrence Market Kitchen, Nella Cucina and The Big Carrot, among other clients. I collaborate with chefs and cookbook writers to create and improve recipes.
I am so excited share our message of hope and acceptance with the digital community and to join the Board of CANAAF as the Social Media Director.
Vice – President
Hello from the East Coast! I’m Melissa and I live with my husband and two
boys in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m thrilled to be a member of the CANAAF
Board of Directors.
After 26 years with alopecia areata, I gave up wearing a wig in 2014. It was
the best decision I’d ever made! For the first time in my life, I felt like I
could just be me. It was only a few months later, my son Jacob, who was five
at the time, was also diagnosed with alopecia.
The support of our family and friends has been amazing, and in discovering
CANAAF, our circle of support widened even more. Until CANAAF was
established, there hadn’t been any support group here for many years. I’m
looking forward to connecting with people closer to home!
Secretary and Chair of Fundraising & Events Committee
My name is Tara Luisser, member of the Board of Directors, Secretary, Events Chair for CANAAF, mother of 3. I have been involved with CANAAF since it’s inception and the Toronto support groups before that. My 11 year old daughter, Presley, has lived with alopecia universalis since she was 5. It is a priority in my life to ensure that she has all the support and encouragement in both the medical community as well as her personal, everyday life. My background in sales and marketing has provided me with the necessary tools to help CANAAF move to the next level of awareness, both regionally and nationally. Additionally, I have been involved in planning social events on larger scales since high school days! At the root is my determination to give my daughter the tools and support she needs to handle this disease with grace, humour and dignity and hope that she can be a champion for others in the future.
Treasurer & Chair of Heads Up Committee
My daughter, Sara, was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in 2003 when she was 6 years old. When the doctor told us what it was I had never even heard of alopecia before! 4 years later, when she was 10, all her hair fell out in a matter of a couple of weeks and eventually she ended up with Alopecia Universalis. She has been wearing a wig every since. At that time there were no support groups in the Toronto area so I gathered information from the American website, NAAF. It mentioned a “Meet & Greet” in Toronto with Charlie Villaneauva and the Toronto Raptors Basketball Team. I was anxious for my daughter to connect with other children and families going through the same thing we were, so I signed up right away. That was in 2008. We have been attending meetings and events every since and have watched CANAAF grow from the beginning. As a “Parent of a Child with Alopecia” I decided to join the CANAAF Board in the hope of being able to help other parents who are also struggling trying to help their children deal with this disease on a day to day basis. My daughter just finished her first year at university and is now helping CANAAF as well with the Kids and Teens Groups at various events. I am happy to be part of this wonderful organization and hope that in turn, I can help you and your family in some way, as it has helped mine.
Hi Everyone! I am so glad that you are taking the time to reach out and read the CANAAF page! There are definitely many caring and helpful people on this board that are willing to go that extra mile to answer questions, provide information and create events to bring the Canadian alopecia community together!
Just a little about myself – I am First Nations, married, mother of 2 (Isabella 11 and Ethan and from a small, rural town in Northwestern Ontario called Sioux Lookout (the most beautiful place on earth! . I have been aware of alopecia since I was a teenager, when both myself and a cousin developing small coin shaped bald spots on our head. Then my sister had the same coin shaped bald spots through her twenties. This experience gave me knowledge of alopecia, but did not prepare me when my 2 year old daughter lost all her hair within days.
Since I live in a rural area of northern Ontario, when my daughter lost her hair my husband and I could only turn to the internet for information and support. I also have family that have taken Isabella to alopecia events in the summer, driving as far as Washington and Texas. I always thought it was important to have ties to the alopecia community for Isabella. As a CANAAF Board member I would love to bring these ties closer to home, and so I am looking forward to developing strategies for how CANAAF can bring support to people, especially children in rural and remote areas of the provinces and territories.
If you have any suggestions or questions or would like to help in any way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s to building the Canadian alopecia community!
I discovered spots and was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata days before my 18th birthday, 35 years ago already! Even though I was diagnosed correctly, there was no information readily available and… at that time… no Internet.
Ten years later, my then new dermatologist – whom I visited once a month for injections – asked me if I wanted to help start a support group in Montreal. I was honored to be asked, and this changed my life! I became a founding member of the Quebec Alopecia Areata Foundation in 1989. We held monthly support group meetings for many years. I also attended many NAAF conferences. Both were eye openers.
I work for an engineering firm as an administrative assistant. In the last few years, I’ve travelled to project sites in Liberia, Uruguay and Morocco, as well as another part of our home and native land – Bethune, Saskatchewan, all without wearing a wig! That is my kind of awareness.
I was part of John Rich’s project People who Stare, a powerful tool for Alopecia awareness.
I am a budding photographer and, in my “old age” am very interested in fitness and nutrition.
Hi there, my name is Jared Nicholls and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I work as a security officer in one of the largest hospitals in Canada. I am 24 years old and have been living with Alopecia Universalis since I was approximately 4 years old.
I can remember first losing all of my hair when I was 12 and the feeling of complete helplessness that came with it. At that time, support groups, conferences or any support at all didn’t really exist except for that from my own family and friends. I am beyond excited to be volunteering with CANAAF and to be able to provide support for anyone who needs it, whether it be children, adults or parents. I know first-hand just how important it is to have someone to talk to when you are going through something traumatic such as partial or complete hair loss. This organization is a great support tool and is run by an amazing group of people and I am very proud to be able to sit on the board.