Alopecia sufferer Ruth McPherson, 28, has successfully completed her Wig Free Week, raising £10,146.99 for Autoimmune Alopecia Research UK. In her own words she describes below how the experience has increased her self-confidence and inspired her to help other sufferers.
I am delighted at how positive the week was.
I had incredible support from colleagues, friends and family who encouraged me along the way. And despite my fear that strangers would stare at me in public, I actually found that people didn’t really pay me much attention!
Throughout the week, I arranged lots of ‘wig-free’ activities to do, including a charity Bake Off at work, a trip to the opera, wig-free bowling, a pub quiz and a charity spin class. It was a very full-on week and I was exhausted by the end, but also felt very happy and liberated!
Since my Wig Free Week ended, I have gone back to wearing my wig some of the time, but I don’t wear it running or to the gym any more, and there have been a couple of occasions when I have gone without it all day! It’s great that I now have the confidence to wear it when I want to, and don’t feel that I need to hide behind it any more.
Doing the Wig Free Week has made me accept the way I look without it, and I now can look at myself bald and feel attractive, which I never thought would be.
READ MORE - Ruth McPherson: My life with alopecia
The money raised will go towards helping AAR-UK to fund and develop diversified research into alopecia - they plan to set up the UK’s first alopecia registry and biobank in Spring 2016.
I would encourage anyone with alopecia to register their details on the charity’s website (aar-uk.org) if they would like to become involved with future research projects.
The other positive thing that has come out of my campaign is that it has increased awareness of a condition not often discussed in the media.
I was lucky enough to get coverage in several publications including national titles like the Scotsman and Grazia magazine, and the articles were overwhelmingly positive.
I have also received many messages on my blog from other alopecia sufferers who have been through a similar emotional journey and wanted to share stories and advice.
The success of the blog has inspired me to set up a mentoring website, putting people who have recently been diagnosed with alopecia in touch with people like myself who have come to terms with it and can offer support.
In the future, I also hope to continue working with AAR-UK. I have offered to do some voluntary social media marketing and PR for the charity, dedicating a couple of hours a week to raising awareness of their research and fundraising projects.
I hope that I can bring enthusiasm and creative thinking to the charity, and help them to increase their profile and achieve their aim of finding a cure for alopecia.