It is our pleasure to introduce Ronda Frandsen the Colorado, Utah and Canada sales representative for the Follea ICAre team. Ronda had been a customer for many years before she made the decision to become a sales representative. Her ability to understand exactly what our customers are thinking and feeling came naturally to her because of her own Alopecia Areata. In addition to wearing the Follea Gripper she now proudly helps others transition into their own new look. Her advanced training gives her the skill to guide through the entire process.
Laura: How long have you had Alopecia?
Ronda: Since 1977, so I believe that’s 36 years.
L: Was it difficult for you? How did it majorly affect your life?
R: Well, I was really struggling with that memory, I had to ask my husband, you know, how I forgot sort of how it went. It seemed to a come about after a car accident as I remember, and I just wore a scarf. I was trying to think well, do I get hair? I mean, what was I doing? …and it seems to me that I just wore a scarf. I don’t remember being super sad at that time about it and shortly after that I got pregnant and then my hair grew like crazy it all came back. I have photos of when my son was born in ‘78 with like a shag type of haircut. Then we did a move to California and I was pregnant again and my hair was then shoulder length and doing great. We were in California for one year, and it was a very traumatic move. Then we moved to Minnesota and which was a good move but all my hair fell out then and never came back, and I remember THAT one being very traumatic and I was crying a lot and wondering why, you know, do people who live on the street and don’t have any food to eat; how come they can have hair? I’m healthy and I have a good diet and I exercise and I take good care of myself and I can’t do hair, and I remember that thought vividly: why do street people, the people, you know, who are abusers or drug users and things can have hair?
L: Was it from the frustration you were feeling with the situation and feeling helpless?
R: Yeah, but also sad. I also lost my eyelashes at that time too so it was kind of the whole of it. Also being post partum from my third child, I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but during both of my pregnancies my hair grew like crazy, but with my third one, nope, nothing.
L: Wow, and where did you go from there, from that experience? How did you come to find Follea? Did you go through other people? What’s your story behind that?
R: Well when I moved to Colorado in ’84, I was introduced to Peggy, and Peggy and I both struggle as to how we met, but, I was introduced to Peggy and Vacuum (wigs) at the time and that was easily 30 years ago, I’m sure. Then years passed and she said “Well you know things have changed, and I think you should try Follea” and I said “Ok, I will.” That one was more liberating in the fact that it was lighter, and I remember when I first got my first piece I would just casually touch the back of my head kind of like “Is it still there?” because it was so light and I could feel the wind on my head which I could never before when I was a vacuum wearer. It was great and I always always always had long hair when I had my own and would wear ponytails or pigtails or braids, so I really missed that, so when I got my Follea hair, I was able to wear a ponytail again and it was like “Yay! I can wear it up in a bun!” and I’m a fitness instructor so it was really nice to be able to put my hair into a ponytail and I could never never never with a vacuum (wig). The weight of the hair or whatever would knock my vacuum (wig) off if I wore a ponytail, and now I could with my new hair.
L: So you got that back, that’s amazing! How long have you been wearing Follea?
R: Two years.
L: …and obviously you’ve been able to live a normal life with your Follea Gripper. How does it help with the active part of your life?
R: Well, I sweat, and now there’s air there. I teach a Spin class, a water class, yoga, seniors, and weight training classes. I HAVE swum in it to test it and see how it works and I’m good! I competed in a 5K Mud Run in Manitoba where I’m originally from in Canada. I was nervous, for sure and scared after the event cause I thought “Oh man, there’s so much mud in my hair” because they were dumping buckets in your hair and there were all these obstacles you had to maneuver through and I thought I had wrecked my hair, but I washed it about six times that one week and it came back beautiful so I was really, really proud of that. I also ski with it, I’ve slept in it…
L: …and all of these activities you were not able to do in other hairpieces?
R: Well, I could in the other pieces, but I never felt that, for me, the vacuum (wig) hung on really well because if you lean your head back like in the dentist chair, and you lean your head certain way then it would pop so you always had to move your head about to make sure you are in the right place. Sometimes if I were chewing and I would feel the wings, if you will, or at the temples, I would hear the suction and didn’t feel my hair was staying on very good. I was always careful about it. With the Gripper, I don’t have to worry about it anymore, and you know people always think I am younger because I am so active AND I have beautiful hair!
L: Wow, security AND you look younger!
R: Funny story relative to age, my son and I a couple years ago had to go on a school trip and we were sitting at a darker restaurant and I was being particular with my diet plan at that time as to what additives were in my food and I asked the waitress a question and my son answered and he said “Well she’s just going to order this…” and the waitress said “I wouldn’t let my husband order for me.” I thought “Oh my god, this lady thinks he’s my Husband and he’s my Son!” So I think when you have younger looking hair, it makes you look younger as well.
L: Well thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us. In closing, can you tell us in your own words how Follea has changed your life…
R: I meet the greatest people through Follea. I love to help people in anyway I can, so I guess I would say it has opened new doors for me. I started meeting people and helping people be able to deal with having alopecia and it really isn’t as bad as it is that you feel at that time. Once you pass that sadness you’re free, it’s liberating.