I'm Simon Ray and I am Alopecia UK's Chair of Trustees
How did I get involved with Alopecia UK?
My first contact with Alopecia UK was back in 2013 when I swam the English Channel raising money for four charities close to my heart, Alopecia UK being one of them. Since then, I have followed the charity and attended Alopecia UK's Alton Towers event in April with my wife and daughter. Seeing the impact the day had on those who attended, I was inspired to offer my services and got in touch with Jen to see if I could help out.
What is my alopecia story?
My wife Anne developed alopecia in March 2012. It started with a few bald patches but her hair did not really start to fall out properly until we were just 3 weeks away from a holiday of a lifetime (6 weeks in Australia that we had been planning for 4 years!). We did manage to get away to Australia (it was touch and go as to whether we would!). Anne left the UK with most of her hair and came back with none. As you can imagine, we experienced the distress and grief that the loss of hair so often brings. Thankfully today Anne feels good about the world and has come to terms with her alopecia. Alopecia UK has helped with the journey.
What are my hopes for Alopecia UK?
I want to improve the support structure at the very beginning of everyone’s alopecia journey and that usually means that difficult first visit to the GP. This is such a critical time when alopecia can wreak havoc with someone’s mental state and the psychological impact can so often be missed by the GP. I want Alopecia UK to be there at the very beginning with every GP in the UK being aware of Alopecia UK and the really positive work the charity does to help those struggling with their hair loss.
This means training GPs, distributing literature, attending GP conferences and developing online learning for GPs (alopecia is not currently covered in any detail on their curriculum). I want to help Alopecia UK to develop a stronger network of support groups as I can see how powerful peer support can be.
I hope to see the charity continue to grow from a predominantly voluntary organisation to an established and sustainable charity that is around for the long-term. Alopecia UK is so lucky to have the support of fantastic fundraisers but I would like to develop regular donations that would allow the trustees to commit to longer term spending.
I am excited to be involved and look forward to helping Alopecia UK continue to develop into the charity that everyone affected by alopecia deserves.