On May 9th, 2012, approximately 2,500 kids/teens from central Indiana attended the Choices for Champions Event at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. The emcee and guest speaker for the event was a 15-year-old teen author, Olivia Rusk. Each of the kids at the event had a hot dog, chips and a drink, watched the Fever game at 12, and on their way out received a free copy of Olivia’s book with a chance to have her sign it.
Olivia is totally bald due to the medical condition, alopecia. When she was only 8 yrs old, she shed her custom wig and bravely marched into her 3rd-grade classroom without hair. That day changed her life forever. What began as Olivia’s desire to be “herself”, quickly evolved into Olivia’s message that “It’s Okay to be Different”, anti-bullying and teen suicide prevention. In 2007, Olivia co-founded Olivia’s Cause with her mom.
With the help of corporate sponsors, Olivia launched her new book in February of this year. “Just Your Average Teenager, Who Happens To Be Bald” is Olivia’s story in her own words, telling what it was like to lose and regrow her hair twice since she was 2 years old, why she decided not to wear hats or wigs and why she feels that it is okay to be different. It includes Olivia’s story from her mom’s perspective and an educational section on bullying: what is bullying, what to do if someone is being bullied, a quiz about bullying, and even information for parents about bullying. When writing the book, Olivia kept the content light and included lots of photos. This makes the book good for pre-teens and teens, but parents will also enjoy it. So far it has been very well received.
Olivia is really making a difference. She has been praised by school administrators, principals, and teachers for her ability to share her story. Olivia is directly credited with stopping an incident in Franklin, Indiana, where a boy had planned to ‘beat up’ another boy after school that day but changed his mind after hearing Olivia speak. In another audience in Indianapolis, one girl admitted that she had been considering suicide but felt that Olivia influenced her thoughts.
Olivia wrote her book to share her story with more kids than she might be able to meet in person. Her goal is to donate 20,000 books to kids who need to hear her message. SuperFrye Guy proudly helped sponsor this event, and we hope she will meet her goal within the year.