An American teenager whose hair loss was caused by radiation treatment for a brain tumour was given an unforgettable night when singer Kelsea Ballerini took her to the Country Music Awards in Nashville.
Seventeen-year-old Allie Allen – described by the singer as a “beautiful, most stunning, amazing girl” – was the ‘plus one’ of the US country music star, and the pair were photographed on the red carpet together.
Missed out at high school
“She just finished radiation,” said Ballerini in an interview with The Boot before the event, “and she starts chemo in a couple of weeks. She’s missed out on a couple of things in high school, and that’s not fair, so she’s coming with me.”
The singer also revealed that her stylist helped provide Allie with something eye-catching to wear.
It has been a roller coaster of a year for Allie, whose mother previously took to Facebook to post a picture of Allie before her homecoming dance. In the picture, her date for the night – long-time friend Brayden Carpenter – had gallantly shaved his own head so that Allie might feel more at ease.
Allie explained in her own Dancerwithcancer.com blog that losing her hair was a harrowing experience. “I had a meltdown,” she wrote. “It’s easy for some people to say, ‘it’s just hair,’ but it’s hard when you’re a teenage girl.” Continues below
Hair loss from cancer treatment
The reason so many people with cancer lose their hair is down to the treatment they receive – both chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy frequently lead to hair loss.
Hair loss caused by chemotherapy typically happens within one to three weeks after treatment begins, and is caused when the drug attacks healthy cells as well as the cancer cells it is designed to combat. Gradually – but over a fairly short time-frame – hair starts to thin out and is soon categorised as severe hair loss as the process continues.
Sometimes it is possible to curb the thinning by wearing a specially-designed cold-cap during chemotherapy. This scalp-cooling device freezes the scalp and was the brainchild of a British man whose family owned a beer-cooler business and whose wife was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Putting the two together he helped to develop this method of freezing the scalp to inhibit treatment chemicals from getting to the scalp by restricting blood flow locally.
More immediate is hair loss from radiation therapy, which happens when radiation rays are directed on the scalp and hair follicles become damaged. Unfortunately, hair lost in this way – known as cicatricial alopecia – can be permanent.
For one night in November, though, Allie was able to forget about all of this and enjoy an unforgettable experience. “Let me tell you about the best night of my life!” she writes on a recent blog posting, going on to explain how she also got to meet Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel at the awards show.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.