A series of children’s sci-fi adventure books – The Lucy Wilson Mysteries – celebrate diversity among young people, touching upon topics which range from race to hair loss.
The story’s protagonist, Lucy Wilson, is a girl of mixed-race heritage and the granddaughter of Doctor Who brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. She is accompanied by her intelligent side-kick Hobo who experiences a form of Alopecia Areata.
The first story, Avatars of the Intelligence, was released in March 2018.
‘Not defined by their condition’
Her first story – The Waterhouse Girl – was inspired by her own experiences with the condition.
Talking to DoctorWhoNews.net, the author emphasises how writing helped her feel more comfortable about herself: “Writing The Waterhouse Girl changed my life, and changed the way I saw my alopecia. I began to feel braver, because my character was dealing with alopecia better than I was”.
She hopes The Lucy Wilson Mysteries series can help to normalise the experiences of children who may feel ‘different’:
“Since then [the release of The Waterhouse Girl] I’ve wanted to write stories where the characters are not defined by their condition, because that’s not what defines me. In Avatars of the Intelligence, Hobo does have alopecia, yes, but he is also loyal, brave and intelligent – all the qualities that Lucy needs in a friend”.
Hampton’s point – that children with hair loss should not be limited by their condition – is reinforced by the amount of positive and successful public figures who have Alopecia Areata. These include former Team GB cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand and England rugby star Heather Fisher.
Dealing with alopecia
Unfortunately treatment for Alopecia Areata on the scalp-only phenotype cannot be used by those younger than 16 years old. There are no treatments for Alopecia Totalis or Universalis which have proven to be both safe and effective, regardless of age.
The lack of options available to treat the condition, combined with the potential of bullying at school, can often leave children with hair loss stressed and isolated, a scenario explored in Hampton’s series.
As a result there are charities set up to cater specifically to children and young people experiencing hair loss. In the UK Little Princess Trust and Hero by LPT provide real-hair wigs for girls and boys experiencing medical forms of hairloss, including alopecia areata and cancer-related baldness, up to 24 years of age.
Hampton is a passionate ambassador for Alopecia UK: through her work with the charity she visits schools across the UK offering education and support.
In addition to this the charity gets involved in campaigning and fundraising efforts. Hampton previously raised over £750 by completing four hours of sponsored expressive dance. Rowsell Shand won £3,000 for the organisation on Celebrity Mastermind.
Many other peer support groups have been created, such as Molly’s Roots which was set up on Facebook by the mother of Molly Milligan, an 11-year-old with Alopecia Areata.
The work carried out by these charities, forums and figures try to make sure children with hair loss are given every opportunity to live with confidence and security. As demonstrated by Hampton’s characters, and by the author herself, losing hair needn’t be a barrier to a happy and successful life.
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