Pedro Cabral is getting involved in some fundraising for Alopecia UK, to help others like his daughter Maiya.
Tell us a little bit about your experience with alopecia....
Last April, my 6 year old daughter Maiya had a single bald patch appear on her head. By December 2015 she had lost all of her hair. This came as a complete shock to us. Immediately we worried about how she would be affected by the condition. We worried how it would affect her confidence. Being so young we understand that children at school can be vocal and can be mean if another child looks 'different'. Maiya’s school has been very supportive and educated the other children about Maiya’s alopecia. The positive support she has recieved from her family, friends and school have been extremely valuable. She doesn't feel ‘different’ from any other child.
As her father it was an emotional moment seeing her get ready to be a bridesmaid for a family wedding. As her cousins sat down to have their hair done, Maiya watched on lovingly. My daughter couldn't have her hair done and this is the first time it hit me. Does she feel left out? Does she feel sad? Does she feel different?
But it's not about how I feel it's about how Maiya feels.....
...... Maiya laughs, Maiya lights up the room, Maiya gets on the bus whips off her hat and shouts 'look at my new hair cut'. (Yes she has done this!) Her attitude has been so positive. In fact at times it has felt that she has given us the strength to believe that she IS and WILL be strong enough to deal with any difficulties that are attached to alopecia.
Why did you decide to fundraise for Alopecia UK?
Walking down the street, there are stares, ocassionally there are whispers 'Look at that girl, she has no hair', ‘Mummy is that a boy or a girl?' And the common one ‘She must have cancer'
This made me realise that people need to be educated about alopecia. There needs to be more awareness. I was surprised at how many people do not know or have never heard of the condition. I decided that fundraising would be a great way to create awareness, and generate money for Alopecia UK who do great work improving the lives of those with alopecia and their families. People need to know that whispers can hurt, long stares can hurt, mean words can hurt. With greater awareness, hopefully whispers, stares and mean words become less common.
How are you raising money for Alopecia UK?
Myself, my partner Priscilla Pereira and our friends Diana Malho, Paulo Afonso, Monica Trinidade, Lenoel Aleliv, Chris Santos, Lucy Gouveia and Cristina Afonso will be taking part in the Tough Mudder half obstacle course challenge on Saturday 14th May. It’s a 5 mile obstacle course challenge and has 15+ obstacles. We have all been training hard and have made positive lifestyle changes to ensure we complete out task. Some of us have given up smoking, taken on a healthier approach to eating, exercise and fitness. So raising money for Alopecia UK has also been beneficial for us too!
In addition, I have also organised a charity dinner of 120 people where there will be raffle tickets for sale and prizes to be won. A few football teams and players have been generous enough to donate some signed shirts to be auctioned on the night. It will be a fun night with music and food.
We thought it would be a brilliant idea to get the kids involved. So we are planning on having Maiya and some other children participate in a cake sale too.
What does Maiya think to Daddy’s fundraising efforts?
Maiya is happy that daddy is trying to raise money to help others who have the same condition. Although she finds it very funny that daddy will be rolling around in mud!
Thank you to Pedro for all his efforts and all the members of 'Team Maiya'. We're very grateful to all involved! If you would like to show your support to Pedro and Maiya, you can visit their fundraising page here.