Victoria Petkovic-Short is one of the members of 'A Clearer Head'.
"If I had a pound for every time someone said "It's only hair", i'd be one rich lady! It isn't though; there's no 'only' about it. Hair is important; society defines people by it, from the jokes about blondes to the shampoo adverts that highlight 'You're worth it'. So what happens when you lost it? Are you somehow worth less?
Growing up, i'd never been a 'girly-girl' obsessed with the latest styling choices or spending hours doing my hair. I'd have it cut, brush it and let it dry naturally and had always been pretty happy with it like that. Cue alopecia however, and suddenly I was obsessed; obsessed with the way it looked, how it was styled, how fast it was shedding and even comparing it to other women on the street!
I initially started losing my hair at the age of 21 and have been determined from the start not to let it beat me. That's not to say it's always been an easy ride. In the early days, I was grieving, swinging between anger and denial and worst of all guilt. Guilt was the hardest for me. I was upset about my hair, but I was guilty too; guilty that I was worrying about something so trivial; guilty that I didn't have cancer yet people assumed I did. I just couldn't shift the feeling.
But with the support of some fantastic friends and family, not to mention a boyfriend who stood by me while it happened. They picked me up and dusted me off and after a few weekends of clubbing and being 'normal', I started to get to grips with it. I decided that I wouldn't be defined by my alopecia and that it wouldn't beat me. I would not be downtrodden and worthless; I was still me, just a little bit more streamlined.
Six years on and I am still totally bald and am getting married later this year. My alopecia has meant that I've made friends around the UK, taken part in my first 'flashmob', appeared on Good Morning Britain, raised £3,600 for Alopecia UK with my Pretty Bald calendar and most importantly been able to help people. And I can now add 'appeared on a BBC quiz' to that list!
Alopecia forced me to look at myself and what makes me happy. I am now the happiest I have ever been and I want people to know that being bald isn't the end; it can be the beginning!"
Thank you to Victoria for being part of the 'A Clearer Head' team! Tune in on Thursday 17th March, 6pm, to see how Victoria and her teammates got on!