Wirral schoolgirl Bella Jeffries has become the pride of her school after opening up about her Alopecia Areata and embracing her short-haired new look. Having quietly endured the hair loss condition for five years, her decision to cut off the rest of her hair has earned her the nickname of “bodacious brave Bella” from one of her friends and the respect of all her classmates.
What particularly impressed them was that Bella snipped off her remaining locks to donate to the Little Princess Trust, which makes real-hair wigs for children who have lost their own due to cancer treatment or conditions such as Alopecia Universalis.
To add a final dash of magic to her courageous story, Bella even managed to raise £400 in sponsorship money for the charity in the process.
According to The Liverpool Echo, 10-year-old Bella, from New Brighton, first noticed a small bald spot on her head when she was five.
“It was about twice the size of a 50p,” her mother Candida told the newspaper, “and the doctors diagnosed it as Alopecia Areata. We talked about it and were open about it, but since then she’s gradually been losing more hair.”
The Echo reports that six weeks ago Bella’s patchy hair loss from the autoimmune condition suddenly seemed to accelerate rapidly. “It started to go from the front, middle and sides and I realised we had to really confront it,” says Candida. Sitting her daughter down for what was clearly not an easy talk, Candida told Bella that she could either “face the world and go, ‘I’ve got alopecia, an illness, so what?” or that she could “live in fear.”
“When I said that she burst into tears and said she’d been living in fear for the last three years,” Candida said.
When Bella went online at her mum’s suggestion in search of “beautiful bald girls like Jessie J”, she discovered to her dismay that most of the pictures were of people with cancer.
It was a milestone moment for the kind little girl, who reminded her mum that she wasn’t sick and that she was only losing her hair. “I’m healthy and losing my hair is making me sad imagine being really sick and losing your hair” she said. At that point, Bella decided she wanted to do something to help children with cancer.
Bella plaited up her hair ready to donate, and sat down to have it all cut off something that her mum said was especially hard to watch. For her part, however, Bella says that she had grown tired of trying to keep her hair loss a secret.
“She seems so much happier now,” her proud mum told the Echo. "“I was so worried when she went back to school but the kids have been amazing. The headmaster brought it up in assembly on the first day and said ‘Bella has got alopecia and she’s shaved her hair off for cancer’ and their reaction was fabulous".
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