It was another incredibly difficult year for our Judging Panel – including Alopecia UK founder, Vicky Rees, Alopecia UK Trustee Steve Lindsey, Hannah’s parents Elaine and Steve, and Alopecia UK Operations Manager, Amy Johnson.

The Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award is in its second year, and we received so many wonderful nominations. We were blown away by the fabulous young people who have been busy over the last 12 months raising awareness of alopecia.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the young people who were nominated this year, and introduce the 2021 Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award winner, eight-year-old, Jessica.

Congratulations Jessica on being named the winner of the 2021 Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award. How did you feel when Kelly, our Volunteer and Resource Manager arrived at your house to tell you you’d won?

I feel really proud that I’ve won this award! My mum and dad didn’t tell me  I had won, I was so surprised!

Tell us about the things you have done to raise awareness of alopecia…

I have been spreading awareness in my school – I noticed there wasn’t a bald avatar to choose from whilst doing my work on Times Table Rockstars, so I asked mum to write to them and got them to create one for me, and for other children like me.

I also wrote to lots of different authors, asking them to include more characters with alopecia. Julia Donaldson replied to me saying she would include a picture of a bald girl in her new book ‘The Hospital Dog’. I also messaged Pamela Butchart and she said there will be a character called Jessica with alopecia in her new book!

I have also been telling lots of people about alopecia, including at Brownies and at my mum's school. I raised over £2,500 for Alopecia UK and I even got to help interview Matt Lucas at an Alopecia UK children’s event.

What’s the best thing about having alopecia and what’s the most annoying thing?

The best thing about having alopecia is that I can spread awareness and I don’t have to wash my hair. It can be tricky sometimes when people stare.

If you could tell everyone in the world just one thing about what it’s like to have alopecia, what would that one thing be?

It’s good to be different – I am brave, I am strong and I am positive thinking! My head also doesn’t get as hot as other peoples, as I don’t have any hair.

Over to Jessica’s Mum and Dad,… 

Why do you think it’s so important to raise awareness of alopecia?

To try and help normalise the condition; to help Jessica and other children with alopecia. When your child develops alopecia you learn a lot about hair loss very quickly, and now our family can help educate others.

How has being involved with awareness activities impacted  on Jessica?

It’s really helped her build her confidence, and attending things like the Alopecia UK online children’s meetings helps her see she is not alone. If you saw Jessica at the start of her hair loss, to where she is now, it’s a huge change.

She’s just brilliant – her friends at school don’t even notice she’s got alopecia.

Raising awareness of alopecia has even helped her American family to know more about the condition too!

How did you feel when you were told Jessica had been awarded the Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award?

I tried not to cry; it was a very emotional moment. We’re all so proud of her, she’s really helped us accept her alopecia too, she’s just inspiring and confident.

Congratulations Jessica on becoming our second recipient of the Hannah Dennis Alopecia Awareness Award, and well done to everyone who was nominated. It is great to know there are lots of brilliant young people with alopecia doing great things to raise awareness.