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Joelle’s life was irrevocably altered when she developed alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, at 8 years old. After losing all of her hair, she tried to educate her peers about her unique condition but became the victim of bullying and struggled to make friends.

Joelle passionately wanted to encourage everyone around her to look out for one another and stand up for those who are being bullied. While facing adversity, she developed the courage to speak up for herself. Realizing that what made her different only made her stronger, Joelle became her own hero.

Now a young educator and anti-bullying advocate, Joelle serves as a Young Person’s Ambassador for Alopecia UK. Thanks to Joelle’s radio talks, school seminars and personal visits to classrooms, other children have become inspired to conquer their fears by sharing their own stories about hardship and bullying.

“Nothing beats a hug, though,” she explains, “I always feel incredibly touched if one of the students hugs me after I have spoken. I love seeing people smiling brightly and being happy, as though I have inspired them to change their lives for the good – that is the most rewarding feeling on Earth.”

A dedicated fan, Joelle takes comfort in the Star Wars community, which enables her to “find people who are creative and openly accepting… Star Wars has given me a place to share things with others where it is accepted that everybody is different and individual.”

Next month, she will participate in Alopecia UK’s 10k charity run in London to show support for others with alopecia. Joelle encourages all to remember that, despite dark times and difficult situations, anyone can harness the light side to be a Force for Change.

        Written by: Joy Ofodu

Joelle, from London, has made it her mission in life to spread a positive message of hope and compassion to the world.