CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An effort is underway to surprise a young Charlotte girl with birthday cards and words of encouragement after she was bullied at school.
Being 10-years-old can be tough enough -- but for Ashley Rosano who has alopecia, a condition where a person’s immune system attacks their hair follicles causing hair loss -- it can be isolating.
Ashley’s dad said because of the way she looks, she’s recently been the target of a bully at school.
“You know to have these horrible words being said to her and to have her come home crying, it was really heartbreaking,” said Jody Pino, who caught wind of Ashley’ story on the Facebook group, Ballantyne Connection, which she created.
Pino is now calling on those in the community to send birthday cards or words of encouragement to Ashley, who turns 11 on Friday, November 16.
“You know words can be hurtful and I want to change that so that she hears the kind words and can feel better and know she is loved,” said Pino.
Pino said she, like so many others, knows the pain of being bullied.
“I was bullied for having too much hair, so it’s kind of ironic that she has no hair and is being bullied for that,” she said.
Pino hopes for Ashley, that pain will turn to joy, one birthday card at a time.
“If we could all just do our part, a little part to make people feel more valuable and to understand that bullying isn’t ok, than maybe we can prevent a lot of things that are happening out in the community,” she said.
Pino said since posting the request for birthday cards in her group, the response has been incredible.
“It’s been amazing. We’ve had a lot of people who are interested in sending the cards, but we’ve also had people offer additional services and things that would be a really nice surprise for her,” said Pino.
Some of those things include a bounce house and surprise visit from Elsa, a character from the Disney movie "Frozen". Pino said she’s also heard from others who have Alopecia who offered to bring cupcakes and even from one mom who offered to bring her kids so Ashley doesn’t have to celebrate alone.
“It speaks volumes when we come together, and we say you know what, you’re beautiful just the way you are. I think kids need to understand that being unique is not a bad thing and that she should embrace that,” said Pino.
If you plan to send a card, make sure to drop it in your mailbox by November 13.
You can mail it to:
Primrose School of South Charlotte
ATTN: Ashley’s Angels
15933 Lancaster Highway
Charlotte, NC 28277
Ashley does not attend Primrose, but Pino said the school is allowing the cards to be delivered there so Pino didn’t have to give out her personal address.
In a statement to NBC Charlotte, the school said:
Primrose School of South Charlotte is honored and proud to stand in support of Ashley! Here at Primrose, we believe that “who children become, is as important as what they know”. We hope that Ashley's story will help reinforce what we teach our children, that we always need to be compassionate, kind and treat others with respect. That is what makes us beautiful. “We are “Ashley’s Angels” and we just want her to know and always remember that she is, brave, beautiful and loved!”
And don’t worry, even though you may have seen this story on NBC Charlotte, Ashley’s dad, Jonathan, assured us we won’t ruin the surprise. The family doesn’t watch much TV.