Since I was 6 years old I have lived with Alopecia, an autoimmune disease which causes hair loss. To look at me you might not realise this as I have worn a wig for almost 10 years. There is no known cause or cure, & whilst physically there are no other symptoms & I have lived a very healthy life, mentally people can struggle with their wellbeing & mental health - something I too have experienced.

Throughout my life having Alopecia has meant I’ve lacked self-confidence, felt insecure & ugly, not liked looking at myself in the mirror, felt like I’m not good enough. Alongside my own comparisons of a “normal” woman with a full head of hair, some of these feelings have been brought on by my experiences of growing up different. In school it was an easy insult for teenagers (sometimes those who called themselves a friend) to throw in my face, & in the world of dating I’ve lost count of the amount of times my Alopecia has made a boy not want me.

Alopecia UK is a small charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia. The charity has aims around Support, Awareness & Research.

I am doing the Bristol half marathon to fundraise for Alopecia UK. I’m hoping by sharing my experiences it’ll help me to accept & love myself as I am & spread awareness that you can be bald AND beautiful! I hope to help others understand what Alopecia is & hopefully reduce the stigma associated with people (especially women) who have no hair.

Thank you for supporting me with my fundraising efforts. I really appreciate your support & so does Alopecia UK! Shaama Reese