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Mom of 12-year-old girl with alopecia tells Jada Pinkett Smith how bullied daughter died by suicide

Mom of 12-year-old girl with alopecia tells Jada Pinkett Smith how bullied daughter died by suicide

"She'd get smacked upside on the head walking down the hallway. And that was within the first two weeks, three weeks. It got really bad for her," shared Niki Ball, mom of late Rio.

A mother opened up about the struggles of alopecia that her 12-year-old daughter had faced and the terrible fate that followed. During Wednesday's Red Table Talk, which is hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and daughter Willow Smith, Niki Ball spoke out about her young daughter, Rio, who was severely bullied due to her hair loss. Tragically, she died by suicide in March. 

Ball explained how Rio had started developing alopecia while she was at home when the pandemic started. What started with a bald spot on her head quickly became severe as Rio's hair would fall out "by the handful." Shortly after this, she was diagnosed with alopecia areata, according to PEOPLE.

"With the hair loss, she was so strong. She still rocked it even when it was falling out, and she just had these big bald patches. Tried the creams. They made her break out. Tried the injections, she took five of them in one day. But neither of them really did anything," shared Ball about her daughter.

Rio finally gave up and asked her mom, "Can we just shave my head?" and her supportive mom revealed, "And so we did. And she just GLOWED." Things were good until the young girl began attending school in her wig. "And then with school coming up, we got her that super cute wig, she loved it, and she glowed then. But at school, within a couple of weeks, she was like, 'I don't want to wear it anymore, there's no point,'" recalled the heartbroken mom. 



 

"She had it ripped off her head. She'd get smacked upside on the head walking down the hallway. And that was within the first two weeks, three weeks. It got really bad for her," added Ball. The kids at school were ruthless as they would often call Rio a "naked mole rat," "Mr. and Mrs. Clean" and "bug-eyed alien." 

Three weeks before her demise, Rio "had a really bad day" at school and "just lost it" when she sat in the car to go home. "I knew this was very serious," shared the distressed mother who immediately brought the matter to the school teachers and administrators' attention. She also spoke to her daughter and assured her that she had "an army of people" on her side. 

But on March 14, Rio died by suicide. It "was the worst day of my life," said Ball. "She was so smart. She was just brilliant. And she was funny. She was a great big sister. She loved reading and writing and sketching. She loved being in the band," she added of her late daughter. 

Cover image source: Facebook | Red Table Talk

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