We caught up with 16 year old Alex Knapper who is fundraising for Alopecia UK.....
Tell us about your fundraising for Alopecia UK - what do you have planned?
I will be taking part in the Colour Run in Birmingham with four of my friends to raise as much money for Alopecia UK as I can. I will be doing this completely without a wig or scarf to raise awareness of what it is like physically to have alopecia and to show that it is nothing to be ashamed of - those of us with alopecia can wear our bald heads with pride!
Why have you chosen to raise funds for Alopecia UK?
Six months ago I was first diagnosed with alopecia areata however it only affected a very small part of my head which then quickly grew back only to fall out again and grow back and fall out again. Every time it grew back more would fall out, leading to me now having almost complete baldness - the rest of which I have shaved off myself.
Although my doctors have been helpful there is no explanation as to why the condition happens. Without Alopecia UK there would be hardly any support for all of us with alopecia, and that is why I want to raise funds to help others going through the same. I know when I needed people to talk to I could through the Alopecia UK groups. With it being such a physically life changing condition, I need the emotional support- especially with me being a teenager and appearance meaning so much. As Alopecia UK is such a small and under represented charity I felt as though I wanted to do whatever I could to give back, even if just a small amount.
Are you looking forward to the Colour Run?
I am really looking forward to it, although I am a little nervous to be in such a crowded place without anything to hide my alopecia. For me thats going to be the hardest part however I would like to prove that it is possible to embrace it no matter what the circumstance. The run itself won't be easy but I know that the hardest thing will be the emotional task of being in such a public place with nothing on my head. I know that it will be so rewarding though and I am quite excited to do it. I want to show that it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. I don't normally leave the house without anything on my head or if I do I tend to only see people who I am extremely close with such as family members so this will be a big step forward! I am going to be doing the run surrounded by my best friends which will be incredible. They have been so supportive to me. I go to a boarding school and live away from home and so when I first lost my hair they were there for me and they helped me through all the emotional struggles). I know without them my journey would have been so much harder which makes it mean so much more that they are doing it by my side! Also, before this, we didn't really know much about alopecia so we all think it’s important to raise awareness.
How much are you hoping to raise?
I would like to raise as much as possible but my personal target is 'only' £60. I say this with a pinch of salt as obviously £60 isn't a ridiculously large amount of money in comparison to what people can raise for charities. However, I like to think that even the smallest donation will go a long way to a small charity like Alopecia UK and if everyone affected by alopecia gave only a pound towards the cause, the total sum of donations would be immense. £60 would be incredible - with obviously any more on top a bonus. As Tesco's motto says ‘Every Little Helps’. I like that - and after all the support I've received the least I can do is give some back. I'm so proud to be able to represent such a fabulous charity such as Alopecia UK and with all the donations that people can give no matter how small I know the charity will benefit immensely!
Thank you to Alex for her efforts. If you would like to make a small donation to her fundraising total, you can visit her Justgiving page here.