A mum from Wearside who was diagnosed with alopecia as a child is helping others deal with the illness through her work with a charity.
Kay Fisher, from Red House in Sunderland, lost virtually all of her hair after being told she had the condition aged just nine.
The mum-of-one was made to feel like a guinea pig as she underwent various different treatments including steroid injections.
For the past decade Kay has been receiving support from Darren Stuart, lead educator and trustee of mynewhair at East Boldon’s Tribeca Hair Design, following a hospital referral.
She regularly visits Darren’s salon every two to three weeks for its wig styling service.
Having regained her confidence, Kay wants to share her story so that other people affected by hair loss can get the help and support they need.
Kay said: “It was my sister who actually noticed it at first.
“I didn’t think anything of it because obviously I was only nine and I was naïve.
“Gradually over the weeks my hair decided just to fall out nearly everywhere.
“So I went to the doctors and they couldn’t put their finger on what it actually was and then my mam made an appointment with another doctor within the surgery and they were the ones who actually confirmed that I had alopecia and referred me to the consultants at the hospital.
During her journey to learn to live with alopecia, Kay has been and continues to be supported by mynewhair, a national charity founded and inspired by celebrity hair dresser Trevor Sorbie MBE, which offers a wig styling service for people suffering from cancer and medical hair loss.
Talking about her experiences, Kay said: “The hospital where I get my prescriptions from told me about mynewhair and about Darren’s salon.
“He made me feel at home and as though he actually cared about what he was doing.
“And that’s what made me realise there is someone that cares.”
The charity has trained hundreds of hair professionals around the country to provide a wig styling and advice service to those suffering from medical hair loss.
Kay added: “I can just get on with Darren as though like a relative or a really good friend.
“He was able to offer me something that was actually to my style and my standard that I was expecting. It made me feel more confident.
“I love getting a new wig. Absolutely love it.
“Every time it’s like you’re desperate for a new pair of shoes.
“If they’re falling off your feet you can’t wait to actually get a new pair and that’s how I always feel when I get a new wig.”
Hair loss in women affects roughly 50% in the UK and more women are seeking methods of non-surgical hair restoration.
Kay said: “There is quite a few that do turn a blind eye when it comes to hair loss; the effects it can have on people, how women and men as well as children actually feel when they suffer from having any sort of hair loss condition.
“It is not a disease.
“It’s something that you learn to live with.
“It’s always going to be part of my life.”
Trevor added: “The charity offers real support to people suffering from both short and long term hair loss suffers.
“For many women, like Kay, having a styled wig that’s tailored just for them, can give them a confidence boost and help them feel like themselves again.”