Young Central Texas girl with rare condition honored for volunteerism

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A young girl with an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss continues to work to spread awareness and raise funds for the condition she’s been fighting since the age of 4, and as a result she’s being recognized again for her volunteerism.

Eastern Hills Middle School student Briana Liles won a state Student Hero Award from the State Board of Education, which was presented to her by state board member Tom Maynard during the Killeen ISD board meeting Tuesday night.

“It makes me happy that the community realizes good people are helping others,” she said.

Briana suffers from an autoimmune disorder called alopecia, which causes hair loss.

It’s a condition she’s fought as long as she remembers but says she’s never let it define her and, in fact, she uses it to love herself more and make a difference in the lives of others.

Briana was chosen for the latest award, in part, because she raised $7,000 to help send kids to a camp hosted by Children’s Alopecia Project.

“Alopecia is one of the main big things I love about myself,” she said.

“It doesn’t always grow back but sometimes it does and mine is not growing back anymore. I’m just losing more and so I raise money to send kids to camp because it doesn’t matter if you have hair; long hair, curly hair, straight hair. It doesn’t matter. You’re beautiful no matter what.”

Briana’s efforts in 2018 on Lemonade Day raised nearly $1,000 and earned her the title of National Lemonade Day Entrepreneur of the Year.

She’s also the 2019 Five Hills Ambassador.

Briana says while she’s honored to be chosen for the state-wide recognition it’s not the medals that inspire her to work.

“I just do it for fun and I do it because I have a kind heart and I love helping others. But honestly If I didn’t get this award, I would still be happy because I’m doing something I love,” she said.

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