'The Slap' draws attention to autoimmune disease

NOW: ’The Slap’ draws attention to autoimmune disease

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The controversy at the Oscars has put the spotlight on Jada Pinkett Smith's struggle with hair loss. A local group hopes to use that as an opportunity.

Brittany Flogel has Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease that causes short-term or permanent hair loss. She thought the joke about Pinkett-Smith from Chris Rock was inappropriate.

"I don't know if he's uneducated about it, but he should have done it in a different way," she said.

Flogel says she's heard questions from strangers about her condition.

"I've had people ask if I had cancer," she said.

And she says she has witnessed bullying that can have devastating impacts.

"There's a recent story of a teenager committing suicide because she was picked on so much," she said.

Flogel says she is speaking out after the Oscars because she hopes it convinces people to learn more about AA, and to be more understanding.

"It gives me an opportunity to educate them on what alopecia is and turn it into a positive."

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation link can be found here.

To contact the Milwaukee-based AA support group, click here.

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