Editor’s Word: This story was initially revealed in Faces and Locations 2022. Copies can be found from The Clanton Advertiser’s workplace, 1109 Seventh Road North in Clanton.
Story and images of ELISABETH ALTAMIRANO-SMITH
F.Kathy Giles, a local of Chilton County, and her household will attest that she is “as candid as they arrive.” Giles, 45, spends her days dwelling on the finish of Higgins Ferry Highway together with her husband Donald, who works there as a park ranger.
Her heat smile and pleasant disposition enable her to greet and assist campers from all around the nation on the park’s campsite and boat launching. One of many issues folks could first discover about Kathy Giles is that she is bald. She struggles with alopecia areata, an immune system dysfunction that assaults the hair follicles, typically leaving the individual utterly hairless. It could actually final for a couple of months or years, as is the case with Giles. Her story of alopecia areata began out as a quarter-sized bald spot on the again of her head that she had since childhood.
Eight years in the past, the quarter-sized stain began getting greater and over time left it utterly bald. Her journey of dwelling with out hair has been tough at occasions, redefining her id however shaping her confidence as an exquisite new lady.
“I’ve an exquisite bespoke wig that prices a ‘fairly penny’ sitting in my closet,” Giles mentioned. “I purchased and have been given a variety of hats and scarves. I have been carrying hats each minute of on daily basis since 2014, besides once I’m at my home. I do not care if it is a wig, hat or scarf, it isn’t your individual hair! It’s sizzling, uncomfortable and itchy. Strive carrying one thing in your head 24/7 for years and see how properly you do. It actually takes away from a girl when she loses her hair. It is a part of her id. Take into consideration each time you may have your hair achieved, lower, braided, washed, or no matter. Do these issues as a result of your hair is your appears to be like and your confidence. Now think about that every thing goes away. That is once you actually notice what it means most to you. When you don’t have anything left to offer to the world however your coronary heart and soul; no bells and whistles, simply you 100%.
Dealing with baldness is just not your first encounter with tough life issues. As a baby, she grew up in Jemison, she was mistreated.
Later in highschool she suffered bullying, which prompted her to drop out of eighth grade and get her GED. She began working as a building employee, however she stopped working after she bought pregnant in order to not harm her child. She quickly moved to Georgia together with her son’s father and located himself dwelling in her automobile and in harmful circumstances.
“I used to be dwelling to a minimal and eventually determined to go residence to Chilton County for a greater life-style,” Giles mentioned. “I take every thing that has occurred in my life and use these experiences as steps. When somebody goes by way of one thing tough, it might be horrible, however give them 5 minutes. Issues will change. “
After returning to Chilton County, she met her future husband, Donald, throughout a automobile accident which she responded to as a police officer.
They bought married in Could 2012.
After her prognosis of Alopecia Areata in 2014, Giles mentioned she wakened someday with the data that she was lovely no matter her prognosis and now not wanted to put on hats or cowl her head.
“We went to an amusement park and once I bought on the curler coaster, they requested me to take off my hat as a result of hats weren’t allowed on the rides,” Giles mentioned. “I bought out, went in entrance of the park and cried. It was an thrilling time. Dwelling on the river and being out within the boat, you additionally at all times hear “hold your hat on, so it will not fly away”. It has develop into a each day wrestle to at all times cowl my head.
Throughout the spring of 2022, Giles wrote on his social media web page:
“I refuse to put on the hats for one more minute. That is my new regular! The whole lot occurs for a purpose, this was my signal ”.
He hasn’t used any sort of headgear since that April submit.
Giles mentioned all folks have an insecurity they take care of in life and the one technique to overcome that worry is to speak about it.
“Should you speak about what you are going by way of, it is now not a secret,” Giles mentioned. “Do not hold it to your self. He begins speaking about it. Ask your self ‘is that this one thing short-term that may go away?’ Should you assume you may’t do it alone, deal with doing it someday at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. “
Over the previous few years, Giles has discovered a number of folks going by way of a disaster sitting on the launch of the boat (subsequent to his residence) and talked to them in regards to the issues they had been going through.
Throughout the pandemic, Giles and the Lake Mitchell Dwelling Homeowners and Boat Homeowners Affiliation (HOBO) and neighborhood assist created “Kathy’s Playground”. The playground, named after Giles, is positioned in Higgins Ferry Park and has age-appropriate gear
for 1-17 years. The playground’s wide selection of facilities has been formed with its grandchildren in thoughts to achieve extra age teams.
In her spare time, Kathy enjoys spending time together with her husband, her 4 kids: Michael, Jacob, Kim, Jason and 7 grandchildren.
She additionally enjoys gathering items of driftwood she finds on the lake and making furnishings with them. A lot of her driftwood items are featured in A lot A Brew About One thing Espresso Store in downtown Clanton.
The playground at Higgins Ferry Park is called Kathy’s Playground in honor of Kathy Giles.