In August I noticed a post in the Alopecia UK Facebook group asking for Charity Champions to help raise funds and awareness during September ‘ Alopecia Awareness Month’. 

I made a decision to apply to be a Charity Champion, as after hiding my condition for almost 30 years, telling only close family and trusted friends about my Alopecia, I wondered what it would feel like to ‘come clean’. Instead of treating this condition like something to be ashamed of, I wanted to know how it would feel if I actually embraced it. As a result I spread lots of awareness, raised funds and now feel more comfortable to go out without my wigs and head coverings.

It was a scary prospect to get involved. I found it hard to look at myself with a bald head so wasn’t sure if I was ready for others to see it and to witness their reactions. 

I can honestly say the month of September has been life-changing and one I will remember for a long time as it felt like I had finally reached a level of pure acceptance of my condition.

I started by posting on my Facebook profile the news that I had been accepted to be a Charity Champion and that in doing this I would be raising funds and sharing ‘my story’ throughout the month in a bid to raise awareness of alopecia. 

By the end of that first day in August I had already raised over £300 and had so many positive  comments from friends, family, work colleagues and passing acquaintances- I’m a Slimming World consultant so many of my members past and present who were in my friends list had no idea I was bald and wore a wig.

I am a regular at my local parkrun and my initial thought was to use this platform to raise funds with a cake sale - the organisers allowed me to make a brief speech at the beginning of the run when I removed my headwear for the first time in front of over 200 runners and explained how the condition effected everyone from young children to those well into adulthood, male and female and that there was no cure. I raised another £350 in donations that morning.

While sharing my story on Facebook, describing finding my first bald patch at the age of 22 while serving as a policewoman, through to meeting my husband (who had no idea I was bald when we first met) to becoming a military wife and having to deal with countless house moves and postings which all came with their own privacy problems to the present day - each part of my story had people adding more to my fundraising. I ran a 10km and attended a local festival with my bald head covered in glitter! I made it into our local paper and onto the BBC news website - my secret was well and truly out! But as a result I feel free! 

It now feels normal to attend my local gym and take part in the classes with nothing on my head - it feels so much easier to use the sauna and steam room without a bandana and to have a shower and get changed without having to sneak into the toilet to swap a head towel for my wig. The positive comments I have had from total strangers has given me more courage to keep going. It really has made my life so much easier and I’m just sorry that I didn’t do it sooner! 

In total I raised £1500 for the charity which is amazing but the difference I have made to my own self-esteem has been priceless.

A HUGE thank you to Linda for sharing her amazing experience of being a Charity Champion!

We welcome Charity Champions all year-round, not just September. If you would like to become a Charity Champion, find our more here