Lucas, Johnson team up to raise alopecia awareness

More news about: Anderson | Manchester
Trevor Lucas leads the league in scoring, and is also a leader off of the court.
Anderson Athletics photo

By Joe Sager

Anderson’s Trevor Lucas and Manchester’s Adrian “Robbie” Johnson are rivals on the court as the top two scorers in the HCAC.

On Wednesday, though, they’ll be playing for one common goal – to raise awareness for alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss – in the “Team Up with Trev and Robbie” event at Anderson’s O.C. Lewis Gymnasium when the two teams meet.

Both Lucas, a senior, and Johnson, a junior, suffer from alopecia, but want others stricken with the disease to know it is manageable.

“It’s good to raise awareness for it,” Johnson said. “I don’t think it’s something a lot of people know a lot about.”

Lucas wanted to do something to help educate and comfort those suffering from alopecia. He just didn’t know what. Anderson head coach Owen Handy helped make the idea a reality.

“I was talking to Coach Handy and he came up with idea of maybe having a game. He mentioned it to one of the classes and it just took off from there,” he said. “We just wanted to give the message that, just because you may look different doesn’t mean you can’t be successful at what you do. I think it’s really cool to get the word out. I have never heard of any other awareness for it. This is the first time I’ve seen anybody do anything for it.”

The event includes a meet and greet with Lucas and Johnson, who are excited to reach out to others with alopecia.

“It’s definitely nice to meet people who deal with the same thing we have. It’s nice to let them know that they’re not alone,” Johnson said. “It would have been nice to go to something like this, especially when I was younger. You don’t see a lot of people with the disease, so we’re just trying to reach out and offer support.”

Hair loss, whether partial or full, can be difficult for anyone to handle, especially a youngster. That’s where Lucas and Johnson hope to help by sharing their stories and encouragement.

Johnson was on board as soon as his rival reached out with the idea to raise alopecia awareness.
Manchester Athletics photo

“I lost my hair when I was in third grade. I had to deal with some difficult times, a lot of teasing and a little bit of bullying. Just because you look different doesn’t mean you are different as a person and (dealing with it) will get better over time,” Lucas said. “Last summer, I was supposed to meet a family from Brownsburg (his hometown). Their child had lost his hair and he also goes to Brownsburg (High School). Our schedules just never worked out and I did not get to meet them. When I heard this event would happen, I immediately emailed the family about it and they said they were going to come to it.

“I am definitely looking forward to talking to other people who might be going through the same thing. Really, Robbie is the only person I have talked to about it. It’ll be cool to talk with other people that have it. The main goal is to bring other people together that have it so they know they are not alone.”

Added Johnson, “I started seeing (the effects) my sophomore year in high school. Everybody deals with something. It wasn’t really a big deal. It’s just something you live with and have to deal with. We want to let others know they’re not alone.”

While Lucas and Johnson grew up not too far from each other in Indianapolis, they didn’t get to know each other until after playing against each other in college.

“I followed him on social media after his first year at Manchester. I actually didn’t know he had alopecia until this idea came about. I messaged him and asked him if he did,” Lucas said. “I was definitely appreciative he was willing to be a part of this.”

Added Johnson, “I know a lot of people from where he is from. I saw him play in high school and stuff like that. He contacted me and explained his story about having alopecia. From there on, we’ve contacted each other about it and kept up with each other. He contacted me this summer saying he wanted to raise awareness about it and have a game for it. I was definitely on board with that.”

While the event should be nice, so should the basketball. Anderson posted an 83-77 win in the first meeting on Jan. 10. Johnson scored 36 points, while Lucas had 33.

“Whenever we play, we’re always going at it,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely all mutual respect every time we see each other. I know he is talented. I want to bring my best game when we meet.”

Lucas hopes his Ravens (10-11 overall, 5-9 conference) can earn the regular season sweep of the Spartans (5-16, 3-11).

“We’ve had an up-and-down season, for sure. Manchester has been winning some close games, but on the bad end of a lot of close games like us. It’ll be a fun one, I think,” he said. “I consider us rivals especially since they knocked us out of the (conference) tournament last year.”

Joe Sager

Joe Sager is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. He has written about sports since 1996 for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. He first covered D-III football in 2000 with the New Castle (Pa.) News.

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