Four years ago, a friend of mine had the most beautiful long, thick hair, that came all the way down past her waist. Over the next year, it began to fall out, and despite numerous tests, no reason has been found as to why it happened.
Her confidence was shattered, and she has been unable to leave the house, unless she goes on her motorbike, and never removes her helmet whilst out. She even removed all the mirrors from her home.
She found Alopecia UK on Facebook, and by seeing other people’s stories, she has begun to feel not as alone as she thought she was.
Another friend with alopecia, was on a night out when someone pulled their wig off. She was very traumatised by what happened, so I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of the condition.
I wanted to help in some small way, so after looking at the
fundraising section of Alopecia UK's website
, I decided go for a head shave. I thought it might raise a couple of hundred pounds, but was secretly hoping for a thousand, but but never thought I could manage to raise that in this current climate.
I decided that I would do an online fundraising page for Alopecia UK, and an old-fashioned collection for our local mental health group, Mind Your Head.
A friend who has a printing business, made my posters for free, so I put them up at my work, and opened a
, and went about spreading the word.
I was very apprehensive about doing it, but everyone I told was so supportive, and the money started to come in. I had asked my work, our local Co-op store, if it would be OK to do the shave there. On the day, my daughter put my hair in tiny bunches, we set up in the porch of the shop, and she did the first snip.
Loads of customers donated, and many of them had a go at snipping a bunch off. Nearly all my family turned up! My husband, our eldest daughter and her husband, (our youngest was away, so couldn’t be there) my son, his wife and father-in-law, our 3 grandsons, and some of my best friends, all appeared. Whilst we had such a laugh doing it, especially when it came to shaving the short bits off, I was mindful of the fact that for some the experience of a head shave is not a fun one.
We left my fringe for last, and another friend of mine who has alopecia, but is amazingly accepting of it, shaved that last bit off. We had a rough idea that we had raised about £1000 at that stage, so I was absolutely delighted. It felt very strange having no hair, but the first time I really noticed it was when I went to flick my ponytail, and it wasn’t there! .
I did the shave on Halloween weekend, and we always go out for that, so I decided to dress up as Uncle Fester. By far the easiest costume I have ever worn! Minimal make up, simple costume, no hours of getting ready. We went to a local club during the night, and won first prize for my fancy dress, so that £50 went right into the collection box too!
The money just kept on coming in, and between the two charities, I managed to raise over £2,600. I am completely overwhelmed by
the generosity of my family, friends and even total strangers.
Do I miss my hair? Not in the slightest! I have 20 minutes every morning, that I don’t spend doing my hair, to sit down and have a cuppa. Many have said it was a very brave thing to do, but honestly, it was not brave at all. I believe the brave folk are those that manage to cope with this every day, when they had no choice about it.
If I could take someone’s alopecia from them, and give them my hair, I would gladly do it. Perhaps its because I’ve never been much of a “looker”, so my appearance isn’t high on my agenda, makes having no hair easier for me to cope with.
My local paper, and
online news site
, have both run items about my fundraiser, so that has helped raise awareness about alopecia, but the best thing about all of this is, that my friend has put a mirror up in her house! I am hoping that this will help to get her confidence back, and for her to realise she is still beautiful, with or without hair.
A huge thank you to Carolyn for sharing her fundraising story and for raising such a phenomenal amount for Alopecia UK.