Losing her hair at the age of seventeen came as a major shock to Katie Brooks.
Four years later, she is sharing her experiences to raise awareness of the emotional impacts of having alopecia.
Her story was broadcast on ITV Granada Reports on Thursday 3rd July.
The 21-year-old Liverpool student is reaching out to others with condition, after seeing the effects hair loss can have on self-esteem.
‘I was always quite outgoing,’ explains Katie.
‘When I got alopecia, it all changed. I became really quiet and that’s not really who I am.
‘As a woman, as a human, you set a lot by your hair, and to have that ripped away from you is just soul destroying.
‘When I’d lost all my hair, I was told that the chances of it coming back were slim to none.
'Being told that my hair is never coming back destroyed my confidence.’
In September 2013 Katie took part in a flashmob organised by Alopecia UK, where she was able to hand out her Fixers leaflet raising awareness of the condition.
The group of people in attendance ended the event by removing their wigs in public – a personal triumph for Katie.
‘The plan for the day was to go out there, dance together, and be there for each other when we took off our wigs,’ she explains.
‘I was really nervous actually. Personally, it was the first time I was taking my hair off in public and that was massive to me.
'I feel as if I’ve changed so much since that event. Watching it makes it feel worth it all over again.’
Jen Chambers from Alopecia UK appears in the broadcast to support Katie’s campaign, commenting:
‘The type of alopecia myself and Katie have is generally thought to be a disease of the immune system.
‘One of the biggest things is the psychological side of the things and the impact that it has on you emotionally.’
Katie adds: ‘Just before this project started, I kind of hit rock bottom about how I felt, and throughout this project it’s just really enabled me to find my personality.
‘It’s completely changed me.
‘The journey I went on can affect someone else just as powerfully. It did change my life.
‘I don’t have to fake being confident and that is massive for me.’
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