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Frank Pallone and Tanuj Gupta

You’re Never Too Young to Affect Change

May 28, 2019

Tanuj Gupta wanted to meet with his elected representatives to tell them how they could help the alopecia areata community. He reached out to NAAF, asking how he could become a Legislative Liaison. Since he was not of voting age, Tanuj asked his mother to become a Legislative Liaison, so he could accompany her and give a PowerPoint presentation. Here, Tanuj tells his own story, which proves you’re never too young to take charge of your destiny and work to make the future better.

It was the summer of going into the fifth grade when my quarter-sized hair patch doubled in size and soon got a couple of other siblings on my scalp. By Halloween I knew that a hat would become part of my daily costume. Soon I became completely bald and lost my eyebrows. I had two wigs lying on a mannequin in my room. I would often try to style the wigs and imagine myself wearing them.

Fortunately, I recovered going into my freshman year. As the year progressed, I realized how lucky I was. However, this led me to think to myself over and over again, What about all of the other people suffering?

I wanted to do something for my alopecian family. This is when I read the NAAF newsletter and found out about becoming a Legislative Liaison. I was interested and wrote to Gary Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood immediately responded and explained to me in detail the expectations for this task. However, once he realized I was not 18 years of age, he suggested that one of my parents become a Legislative Liaison instead.

Coincidentally, I had a minor surgery which forced me to stay in bed and do some more thinking. I created a presentation on PowerPoint showing NAAF’s legislative concerns as explained by Mr. Sherwood. Within a few days, we went to Representative Frank Pallone’s (D-NJ) office and met with the district field representative, Nicholas Simon. Nick is one of the nicest people I have met and was extremely welcoming. He listened to all of the concerns from NAAF along with my alopecia journey. Nick asked me for the presentation, which he forwarded to the congressmen’s DC office.

This whole experience was extraordinary and is something I will always cherish. I am hopeful that this is just a beginning and will go a long way toward supporting my alopecia/NAAF family. Together we can make it happen.

Interested in becoming a Legislative Liaison? Learn more about the program by contacting NAAF Communications Director Gary Sherwood at gary@naaf.org.

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