Josephine McAllister Hey pals, some of you know about this but I've tried to hide it from most people for like all of 2018 however as September is Alopecia Awareness Month, here's the big reveal:

Back in the depths of winter (December 2017), I noticed a bald patch bigger than a 2 pound coin on the top of my head and after visiting my GP I was abruptly told I had Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. Apparently it was caused by stress (yeah well now I can relax) and that was it, no kind words of sympathy from the doctor. According to them there was nothing they could do to stop my hair falling out but a steroid cream may help it to grow back (hello heightened self-consciousness, lack of confidence and actual nightmares about being bald).

9 months of late night researching and googling wig types later, the bald patch which was initially as smooth as the palm of my hand is FINALLY almost fully covered with fluffy baby hair. The pictures above show the difference between April and August! Luckily I've been able to cover it up with certain hairstyles the whole time (half up half down is always a winner) and carefully cropped selfies (see above) but I cannot tell you how much I miss wearing my hair down with a middle parting and not freaking out when someone touches my head. (Shout out to my uni gals for being on bald spot watch, love you).

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or guaranteed treatment for Alopecia Areata and its common for people to experience hair loss on and off throughout their lifetime so I could well lose some or even all of my hair again (couldn't hair on the rest of my body fall out instead? Would save soo much time shaving). Dealing with this during my final year of uni was not exactly ideal (what do I do when I throw my graduation cap?!) but its something I've come to terms with and hey at least you can get some funky wigs these days.

SO, (if you're still reading) next March I am running the Reading Half Marathon for Alopecia UK, a small charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia. The charity has aims around Support, Awareness and Research but relies on the support of fundraisers and donors to continue the amazing work it does. I'm lucky that my hair is growing back but for many people, including kids, it doesn't. Whilst my GP was dismissive and unhelpful, I can't tell you the amount of times I've found comfort from the Alopecia UK website and numerous youtube videos late at night so I'd really appreciate your support in reaching my fundraising target, who knows one day they may find a cure!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, any amount donated will be greatly appreciated! x Josephine McAllister