Students shows support for a classmate with alopecia by wearing knit caps in class

EDGEWATER - When 10-year-old Katie Stevens started losing her hair, her teacher offered to knit her a cap to wear in class.  What her classmates did next pleasantly surprised everyone.

A few months ago, Katie's mom, Melissa Stevens, noticed patches of her daughter's hair falling out.  "We asked her if she was pulling it out or cutting it and she said she didn't know why it was coming out," said Stevens.  

After several trips to the doctor, Katie was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease which results in loss of hair.  Melissa says her daughter is a strong girl, but she worried how her classmates would react to Katie's hair falling out.  "What if someone says 'Oh, you're bald' and makes fun of her?" Stevens said.

That's where Katie's teacher, Kathleen Simmons, comes in.  She offered to make Katie a knit cap to wear in class and explain to the students that Katie has alopecia.  Melissa was thrilled and Katie loved the hat.

Then the girls in Simmons' class asked if they could also wear hats.  "They said they'd be happy to wear hats too so Katie doesn't feel like she's standing out in the crowd," Simmons said.

Simmons quickly went to work over the holiday break, knitting about a dozen more hats for the girls.  She thought she was done with knitting hats, until she got another shock: the boys wanted hats too.

"I was surprised when my boys wanted them but it just shows what wonderful, supportive students they are," said Simmons.

More than 20 caps later, Simmons' entire class is outfitted with warm knit hats and can wear them anytime they're in Simmons' classroom.  They even took their class yearbook photo with their hats on, calling it "Caps for Katie."

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