Big sisters may come in multiple guises, but one thing that unites them is the way that they can usually be relied on to stand up for their younger siblings in times of hardship.
Sure enough, when Ocean Anderson, an 18-year-old A-level student from Witham in Essex, learned that her younger sister Azura was being bullied because of the hair loss she had endured as a result of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata, she decided to do something about it.
Shaved off own hair
According to the Braintree And Witham Times, Ocean’s answer was to shave off all of her own hair in an act of solidarity for her 13-year-old sister, in an attempt to show to people that appearance doesn’t matter. “It’s personalities that count,” she says.
To help spread the message, Ocean enlisted the help of a charity named Fixers, which provides support to young people who want to campaign about something they feel passionate about. With their help, Ocean made a moving and very professional-looking video in which her hair is shaved off bit by bit. In her voice-over, she explains that “alopecia doesn’t make a person, life experiences do.”
“This is my way of standing up to bullies,” adds Ocean in the video. “The ones who make fun of those who are different.”
In her interview with the local newspaper, Ocean explains how people had repeatedly been unkind to her sister, often asking if she had cancer. “People would call her ‘baldy’, and they think you can catch it, so they wouldn’t sit next to her.” Continues below
Alopecia not contagious
As many people do know, Alopecia Areata is not contagious – it is an autoimmune condition brought on by one of several known triggers such as stress, physical trauma, allergies, skin injuries and even a genetic predisposition. Affecting around two per cent of people worldwide during their life, it comes without warning and often with no obvious explanation. As such, it can be extremely distressing for those with the condition who often go on to spend many months and even years trying to either come to terms with it or conceal it.
As Ocean herself points out: “The effects aren’t just physical. It has mental and social effects as well. No child should suffer bullying because of the way they look.”
While Alopecia Areata treatment available to adults are not always available for children, it is always recommended that parents who notice hair loss in their children consult their GP as quickly as possible.
In up to 60 per cent of cases, this type of patchy hair loss will regrow of its own accord within a year after falling out. Additionally, adults with the condition may find that applying a high strength minoxidil directly to the affected areas may help with recovery.
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.