Hi, I am Cameron and I am 9 years old. I have had Alopecia Areata for a few years.

My hair loss was initially at the back and sides of my head when I was 7 years old. At the time it was quite traumatising for me as since I was a baby people had complimented me on my hair because of its thickness, length and curl.  So, I was very upset to find I was losing it, but then it suddenly grew back. 

Last year (2021) I started to take some medication for abdominal migraines and within a couple of days my hair started falling out at the back of my head. I stopped taking the medication straightaway but the hair loss continued around the side of my head, above my head and patches started appearing on the top of my head.

A child at school made an unkind comment so I told my mum about it. Previously I hadn’t wanted my mum to talk to school about it, but after this I said it was okay. My mum spoke to the Headteacher about using the Alopecia UK school resources to do a lesson for my class. A few days passed and some children asked if my mum was shaving my hair, I felt alone because I wasn’t near my friends, but I told them to stop being unkind. I was really sad. So my mum and dad wrote a message (with my permission) to all the parents in the class to tell them about alopecia and asked them to look at the Alopecia UK website with their children. The parents were really supportive and straightaway there was an improvement and the children apologised and told me that they would look out for me. I don’t think they were being deliberately mean, but I don’t think they understood how upsetting their comments were and were just trying to be funny. My school then gave lessons on alopecia to all the classes in Key Stage 2 and my sister’s class in Key Stage 1. This really helped and I have not felt the need to wear my wig in school, I just wear headbands to keep my head warm. Sometimes children ask questions, but I now know it is just curiosity.

Now I am confident about my alopecia, I have now lost nearly all my hair, but I like the way I look. I have just completed a 6-week run in the pantomime Dick Whittington and his Cat by Richard Gauntlett at Norwich Theatre Royal. I played Rose Fitzwarren, who is Dick’s love interest’s cheeky little sister. I sang, danced and acted in front of around 1300 people per show. 

The auditions for the part were open auditions and I got through 3 rounds of auditions, one online and two in person. I had never done anything like it in my life. My hair at the time was patchy but I could cover the patches so was not worried about my hair. 

In my press photo (above), I had lost all my hair underneath and had patches on the top of my head. (Photo credit: Norwich Theatre Royal)

By the time rehearsals started I had lost a lot and became worried about people’s reactions so I wore my hood up, but after a couple of days I thought to myself “I’ll take my hood down and see what happens!” Everything was fine, no-one asked any questions and everyone treated me normally. Some of the other actors also wore wigs to perform in and the Team Leader of the ensemble talked to me about her hair pieces.

     

(Pic1: Cameron, stage partner Josh & TV presenter Gyasi Sheppy. Pic2: Cameron, actor & singer Jarneia Richard-Noel, and Josh. Credit: Norwich Theatre Royal)

All the performers and crew were so kind and supportive, especially Rachel Lloyd who looked after the Junior Cast. The panto helped my confidence even more and I now want to be the first child actor on the West End with alopecia. I hope to audition for Mary Poppins this year. I wore my wig onstage, but would happily perform without it. I know with hair or no hair I would still be as good as everyone else and my hair doesn’t make me who I am!

Thank you to Cameron for this inspiring blog post. We will watch out for you on the West End stage in the future!