A Dorset schoolgirl who cut off her hair to raise awareness of Alopecia Areata, which causes sudden, patchy hair loss, has beaten her fundraising target by more than 1,000 per cent.
Twelve-year-old Lili Leung set out to do three things when she opted to get her long brown locks cut off: to increase people’s knowledge about Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that affects up to two per cent of the population; to raise money for children’s cancer research, and to donate her hair to The Little Princess Trust, which makes real-hair wigs for children who have lost their own.
Inspiration from several sources
Though Lili’s inspiration came from several sources, an especially important one was a good friend who goes to her school. Lili told local newspaper the Bournemouth Echo: “It feels nice to have done something like this. My friend is very close to me and she is very jolly – which is cool because she’s been through so much.”
Children are indeed hard done by when it comes to Alopecia Areata; not only are they more likely to be singled out for bullying by others but their treatment options are fewer than those available to adults. Alopecia Areata treatment for the moderate stage which causes patchy hair loss to the scalp only, can be very effective in those aged 16 and over. Furthermore, when overseen by a specialist hair loss clinic, support and advice are always on hand, in addition to the custom treatment courses.
Anyone aged 15 years or under, though, often has little choice but to “grin and bear it”, which can be distressing, especially when spontaneous regrowth – which does happen in many cases – may be short-lived. Although the exact cause of the condition is not yet known, it has multiple suspected triggers. These include a range of factors from allergies, sudden and severe emotional stress, and physical or emotional trauma to genetics.
Given that the one option that is often open to children with hair loss – choosing a wig – is so popular, The Little Princess Trust has been a godsend in the 10 years it has been up and running. The trust’s real hair wigs are high-quality and are given out free of charge to children who need them. More than 4,500 have already been made for youngsters in the UK – girls’ through the main Little Princess Trust and boys’ through the Little Princess offshoot Hair 4 Boys.
Lili’s big cut coincided with several fundraising activities, for which the youngster had set a fund-raising goal of £200. At the time of writing, her JustGiving page had smashed this by more than 1,000 per cent and was standing at £2,756. This amount, says Lili, will be given to Cancer Research Kids & Teens.
Writing on Lily’s JustGiving page, mum Jo says: “Very proud of this amazing girl and all of your support with the incredible donations raised. Thank you all so very much – she is just so happy to have raised so much for Cancer Research, to pass on her plaits to someone who needs them and had a fantastic haircut too!”
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.