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CANAAF: Celebrating Two Years as Canada’s National Organization for Individuals with Alopecia Areata

Every now and then, a YouTube video go ‘viral’ and highlights the exceptional accomplishments of a young child.  A few weeks ago, I recall watching a 6 year old gymnast performing and endless number of back flips that would even make an Olympic gynmast take note.  And not too long before that a video was posted of a 4 year old girl performing a piano solo as though she was ready to step onto the stages of Carnegie Hall.  Last year, the music world went crazy when a YouTube video by Maria Aragon went 'viral' as she performed music by Lady Gaga. We call them gifted kids. We call them talented kids. We call them prodigies. Young people doing absolutely incredible things.

Today, I won't be telling you about another young child doing something amazing, but rather a young organization doing something incredible. The focus is on the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation, or CANAAF - and it's only two years old!

CANAAF is a non-profit organization that represents everything and anything to do with alopecia areata areata in Canada.  Although the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) in the United States has been around for over 25 years, CANAAF formally celebrated its second birthday a short time ago.  Although just a toddler, CANAAF is achieving great things. 

Why was CANAAF created?

CANAAF was created with four main goals:

1. To support research to find a cure for alopecia areata

2. To support research to find effective treatment for alopecia areata

3. To support those affected by the disease

4. To educate the public at large, the school systems, and the private sector

In just two short years as a charitable non-profit organization, CANAAF has developed the essential framework to allow them to acheive these four goals.  CANAAF has developed a formal network of support groups across Canada for individuals and their families with alopecia areata.  It has brought individuals with alopecia areata together by hosting picnics, weekend outings, and fundraisers to support their cause.  On Saturday February 11, 2012, CANAAF hosted a incredible fundraiser for over 200 people – the first annual "Heart and Soul" Semi Formal Dinner and Dance.  The monies raised go to supporting researching into new treatments for alopecia areata.  The organizers say next year's fundraiser might be even bigger.

How can a 'two-year-old' achieve such great things?

The answer is sweat, determination and hard work. CANAAF is led by a remarkable group of 6 people who volunteer their time as members of the board of directors.  None of the members of CANAAF are paid. The hours and hours these individuals dedicate have made it a reality for the 500,000 Canadians with alopecia areata to have a national organization to represent them.

Congratulations CANAAF on all your incredible accomplishments --- and Happy Anniversary !

If you'd like to learn more about the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation, learn about upcoming meetings or make a donation, visit the CANAAF website :

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Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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