Ryan Shazier Makes Time for a Fan
Those who attended last year’s NAAF patient conference in Washington, DC, will not soon forget Ryan Shazier’s closing session address. Since then, the inside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been a major inspiration to those with alopecia areata, including 14-year-old Scott Weitman, who shares this wonderful story:
“For my birthday, which is Christmas Eve, we celebrated a little early with a family road trip to Cincinnati to see the Steelers play the Bengals on December 18th. I have been a Steelers fan for a long time and one of my favorite players is Ryan Shazier. I was a Ryan Shazier fan before I even knew he had alopecia. It was my first time going to a Steelers game, and I got a new Shazier jersey as a birthday gift. As if that wasn’t great enough, I also had the chance to meet Ryan Shazier before the game. I wrote him a letter a few months before our trip, telling him that I was coming and that I had alopecia just like him and asking if I could meet him to shake his hand. It turned out to be the best Christmas and birthday gift ever!
“We drove from New York to Cincinnati in a snowstorm. It took us all day and night to get there. We arrived at the hotel at 1:00 in the morning and had to set the alarm for 7:00 in the morning to go meet Ryan before the game. I was so excited that I had trouble sleeping. It made me feel so great that Ryan would take the time to meet me before a game. He was so kind and friendly and he signed two jerseys for me. He also signed my Terrible Towel. I was also able to give him my Team Up for Alopecia Awareness shirts. We talked about having alopecia and how the Steelers needed to win the game that day to make the playoffs. He was a great guy and he seemed very happy to meet someone else who had alopecia like him. I was really happy too.
“Meeting Ryan meant so much to me. He reminded me that even though someone doesn’t have hair, they can still achieve great things. It also reminded me that I am not the only person with alopecia. Ryan is a great role model and inspiration to anyone with alopecia. It was an amazing experience and one of the best times of my life. My mom called it a “Bucket List” trip and it really was!”