can be a distressing condition for those afflicted by it and their families. For children suffering from hair loss it can be even worse, particularly if they do not realise that many people both young and old are in a similar situation. They may feel alone and ‘different’, causing them to withdraw and feel alienated amongst their peers.
This is the reason why Alopecia Awareness Weekend was set up in the UK. Taking place for the first time last year in Scarborough’s Wild West Pinewood Holiday Park, the event was intended to provide a fun and supportive weekend for children affected by Alopecia. The unique event was organised by BeBold, a charitable group located in the North East of England that has been campaigning for the past two years to raise awareness of Alopecia.
The organisers say that, “the purpose of the event is to allow children and parents to meet other families who suffer the consequences of the devastating condition ... it is all about helping people to tackle the condition, Alopecia, and to build confidence and self esteem.”
Last year’s event was hailed as a success, and was attended by children suffering from Alopecia and their parents from throughout the UK. Due to the popularity of the first Alopecia camp, Bebold have already announced dates for an event to be held in 2011, on the weekend of 29th July 1st August.
Last year’s camp had a cowboy and Indians theme, and featured a range of outdoor activities, fancy dress and camp fires, as well as one-to -one activities designed to boost the confidence of young Alopecia sufferers. It also provided an excellent opportunity for children with Alopecia and their families to meet others afflicted by the same hair loss condition. Other organisations have also got into the ‘empowering’ spirit of the event, such as County Durham dance troupe Wreckonise, who are planning to hold dance workshops at this year’s event, as they did last summer.
Alopecia Areata is a hair loss condition in which the individual’s own immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, causing hair to fall out and cease to grow. According to BUPA, around one or two people in the UK suffer from the condition per one thousand, and six out of ten Alopecia sufferers develop the condition before the age of 20.
The exact causes of the hair loss condition are unknown, but it can be triggered by serious illness and stressful life situations such as bereavement or parental separation. For some, the hair loss is temporary, though the condition may reoccur later in life. For others, the hair may never grow back, and can spread to include total hair loss of the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Those interested in learning more about this year’s Alopecia camp should visit the organisation’s website: www.bebold.org.uk.
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