ALOPECIA UK are delighted to announce children’s author Sue Hampton as an ambassador for the charity. Sue has lived with alopecia totalis for over thirty years. She has written 18 novels for 6 – 16 plus including one book in particular, ‘The Waterhouse Girl’, which draws on her own experiences with alopecia. The book has been praised by world famous author Michael Morpurgo (author of ‘War Horse’) saying it was “beautifully written”.
At Alopecia UK we a really excited about having Sue on board whose aim it is to inspire young people to both read and write. To do this she not only writes but also visits schools to run writing workshops and has already visited over 300 schools. As an ex-teacher (once nominated Teacher of the Year!) she adapts her workshops to the requirements of different schools, which even involves tailoring them to help young people in school with alopecia,
“I was asked to visit a school where a teenage girl was struggling bravely with alopecia. By communicating with her and her mother, as well as the school, I was able to ensure that the visit took the shape that would help most. In this case, it gave her the chance to own her condition. It also enabled her peers, who applauded spontaneously, to understand and to show respect.”
The young person herself said,
“Before Sue came to my school people would make fun of my bandannas and some people would try to pull them off. This made me feel upset and embarrassed but then I decided to ask Sue to come to my school and she talked and explained about alopecia, giving my friends and peers a better understanding of the condition. Some people then said sorry for making fun and others just stopped being horrible, making school life easier and more enjoyable. When I stood up with Sue at the end, in front of everybody, it gave me loads of confidence even though I was really nervous and I learnt that I don't have to be ashamed about my condition, and although I would love a full head of hair, alopecia isn't stopping me doing anything or achieving anything and it’s ok to be different.”
Sometimes Sue even helps people without realising! She had one mother recently who, upon arriving at a school, couldn’t wait to tell Sue how ‘The Waterhouse Girl’ had helped her daughter when she lost her hair. They had read the book together and it really made a difference. The mother was so grateful.
Alopecia UK Trustee Jen Chambers said “Having Sue as an ambassador for the charity is brilliant news. The work Sue has been doing meets a great need for children and young people, particularly for those with alopecia in relation to her book ‘The Waterhouse Girl’ and also the school visits/workshops that can be tailored towards alopecia. Both of them are greatly needed! Spreading the word about alopecia amongst young people and creating empathy and understanding can only be a positive thing and help to reduce the stigma that often surrounds alopecia and can make life particularly difficult for children and young people in school.”
In relation to becoming an ambassador for Alopecia UK Sue said, “I always hoped, when I wrote The Waterhouse Girl, that it would help others as it helped me. My young character with alopecia might not be real but she gave me strength and I love her for it! I’m really proud and excited to be an ambassador for Alopecia UK as it is such a great charity doing fantastic work. Through my role as ambassador I hope to reach more young people, supporting them in person as well as through the book. Once I would have distanced myself from the subject of this novel but now I’m very happy to help young sufferers whenever and however I can.”
If you would like to read more about the work of Sue Hampton, see how to obtain a copy of her books or even see how to go about getting a school to arrange a visit for Sue to do a workshop please have a look at her website
Welcome on board Sue!