Alopecia UK are delighted to confirm that the ‘Big Weekend’ held in London in September was a great success. The event was the first of its kind for Alopecia UK and was put on to enable the charity, its members and leading clinicians in the field of hair loss to share information with each other.
165 people attended the event, many of whom went on to take part in our awareness events that also took place that weekend. These included an alopecia freeze mob in Kings Cross Station on the Saturday and an alopecia awareness walk along the south bank on the Thames on the Sunday. Check out our video! We even squeezed in a bit of Karaoke on the Saturday night allowing everyone to relax with new friends.
The speakers at the information sharing part of the weekend included; Chair of Trustees Jackie Tomlinson with an introduction to the charity, Dr Paul Farrant with an explanation of the physiology of hair and why we see dermatologists and not immunologists, Dr David Fenton explained about the challenges of current treatments, Dr Gill Westgate introduced the European Hair Research Society, Professor Andrew Messenger provided a summary of the most recent research and what it means, Dr Nigel Hunt talked about the psychological impact of alopecia, Karena Moore-Millar presented findings from her PhD in wig technology and Jackie Tomlinson introduced the Hair Loss Priority Setting Partnership (PSP).
We were also lucky to have our ambassadors John Altman and Sue Hampton speak to us about their experiences with the condition. Our young person ambassador Joelle also came along to meet and support other young people with alopecia.
There was time over lunch for attendees to chat to each other about their own experiences and share tips and advice as well as explore the stalls in the exhibition hall.
In addition, separate workshops were held for children (under 12) and young people (13-18), run by Sue Hampton and Karena Moore-Millar.
A few feedback quotes from the weekend include:
“After attending the event, I’m now feeling so normal after weeks and months feeling lonely.”
“I cannot wait for the next event to go to.”
“I loved feeling supported by so many wonderful amazing individuals who really understand how I feel.”
“I'd never taken my wig off in public before, so this was a mind blowing experience for me.”
“I loved it, so good to do this as part of a group, something I would not do alone. These events, have been so good for my self esteem, each year I get just that little more confidant with me.”
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone involved in organising yesterday’s event. It was a wonderful day. Super presenters and presentations. Everything was so well organised and ran so smoothly.”
“A huge thank you for leading and organising a fabulous 'Get Involved' week end. We had such an informative day and were so impressed with the organisation and speakers, we, as every one else, were so lucky to be there.”
We are so pleased to receive this kind of feedback and hope it will encourage others to attend future events. We are already looking at dates and venues for a similar ‘Big Weekend’ event in September 2015 and we really hope you will join us!