An American teenager who had arranged to go to her homecoming dance with a close male friend was stunned to see that he had shaved off his hair in her honour.
Allie Allen, a 16-year-old from Collierville in Tennessee, had recently returned from hospital having had treatment for a brain tumour which she had previously thought was in remission.
Self-conscious about hair loss
Hugely self-conscious about the hair loss that had followed radiation treatment, Allie was thrilled to see that her date, Brayden Carpenter, was also sporting the bald look when he turned up at her home to take her to the dance.
According to the Daily Mail, Allie’s mother, Debbi – who is herself battling breast cancer – posted a picture of her daughter and Brayden on her Facebook page, where Mr Carpenter was described as “an amazing guy.”
“He did it so she would feel comfortable,” writes Mrs Allen, “and Allie had no clue till he showed up. Now that is class!”
The dance was a rare glimpse of normality for Allie, who lost her grandfather to brain cancer in March. At the time of writing, Allie herself was still undergoing treatment for the tumour in her brain.
A GoFundMe page, set up by friends to help raise rent for an apartment near to where Allie is being treated, stands at nearly $25,000.
On the funding page’s latest update, Allie writes that her hair loss was the side effect of her cancer treatment that she was dreading most. “Last Wednesday my doctor warned me my hair should be falling out,” she writes. “Wednesday afternoon I got out of the shower and brushed my hair and noticed it falling out. Of course I had a meltdown. It’s easy for some people to say ‘it’s just hair’ but it’s hard when you’re a teenage girl.”
She goes on to explain how she had “always been attached to my hair” and would “freak out” if her hairdresser cut it an inch too short.
“And I always had fun dying my hair cool colours,” she writes. “It started in 5th grade when I dyed it pink, if anyone remembers that, ha-ha! On Saturday the majority of my hair was falling out and it was just torture to watch. Sunday morning I woke up with about two chunks of hair left and I decided to pull a Britney Spears 2007 and shave my head.”
No longer stressed about it
Allie writes that while this was very hard for her to do, she got over it and isn’t stressing about it any more.
Hair loss from chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment is common, though it doesn’t happen in every case. Additionally, some people have the option of wearing a cold cap during chemotherapy, a scalp-cooling device which keeps the drugs away from the hair follicles and can minimise hair loss during treatment.
Recently, Paxman – the company behind cold cap scalp treatments – announced details of its latest model along with plans to help end hair loss from chemotherapy. With efforts also being made by the pharmaceutical industry, which is exploring new ways to treat cancer, hopefully this visible, traumatic aspect of having cancer will soon be a thing of the past.
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.