Author: BC Writer
Swansea footballer, Jonjo Shelvey has hit the headlines twice in the space of a week. First came the news that he had earned his first call-up for the English national team. This was followed by a story of how the former Liverpool player had reached out to a young fan who, like Shelvey, is affected by the hair loss condition Alopecia Totalis.
Shelvey received a letter from 7 year old Harry Jacobs asking the midfielder to come to his school. The schoolboy hoped to find out how the Romford-born footballer had handled growing up with Alopecia.
“My name is Harry and I have Alopecia like you. Do you like it? I think it is medium because I can’t get nits and don’t have to go to the hairdressers – which is good. I don’t really like it though,” he wrote.
His mother added to Harry’s note, saying: “Harry has developed alopecia really rapidly. He is a mad footy fan and has got some comfort from the fact that you are a Premiership footballer who he can look up to and see that he can still achieve incredible things.”
Immediately moved by the boy’s letter, 22 year old Shelvey arranged for Harry to attend a Swansea match as one of the official mascots, and even paid for the family’s accommodation over the weekend.
“I know what it was like for me growing up as a boy with alopecia. It was quite tough for me with people calling me names and things… I felt for Harry when I got the letter,” said Shelvey. “It was nice for me to share some of my experiences with him and to try and guide him along the right lines.”
Watch Harry’s reaction to meeting his hero and hear what Jonjo Shelvey had to say about making this little boy’s dream come true. Story continues below the video.
Alopecia Totalis causes those affected to lose all of the hair on their head including their eyelashes and eyebrows. By contrast, the milder and more common form of the condition – Alopecia Areata – usually only results in patchy hair loss across the scalp. There is an even more severe form – Alopecia Universalis – in which all hair on the body is lost.
Although the exact origin of Alopecia is unknown, there is good evidence to suggest that it is an autoimmune disorder with a number of potential triggers.
Alopecia Totalis affects men, women and children and may be acquired as a result of a genetic predisposition. There is also some indication that emotional stress may play a part in the development and progression of the condition.
By openly talking about the condition, celebrities like Jonjo Shelvey can help to normalise hair loss conditions like Alopecia Totalis, and combat some of the misconceptions that young people like Harry face as they grow up. In the meantime, Harry will have some great memories of the day he walked out onto the pitch at the Liberty Stadium with his bald hero, Jonjo Shelvey.
The Belgravia Centre
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