MYNEWHAIR CHARITY HELPS BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR REGAIN HER SELF-ESTEEM
A Consett mum and breast cancer survivor is raising awareness of the support available to people affected by hair loss, through charity, mynewhair.
50-year-old Helen McIntyre from Kiln Pit Hill, was diagnosed with cancer of the left breast in July 2013, when she was 47.
As she came to terms with the shock of her diagnosis, mum of one, Helen, who is now in remission, started a course of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy, at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. The treatment, which affects some people with only partial hair loss or thinning, caused Helen to lose all her body hair and was a big blow to her self-esteem during a difficult time.
Having successfully come through her treatment, Helen’s hair has now grown back fully. She wants to share her story so that other people going through similar experiences of hair loss can get the support they need.
Helen said: “I have worked as a nurse in palliative care for 25 years and cared for adults and children suffering from cancer but I just never thought it would happen to me. You’d have thought my background would have prepared me for what was to come, but it didn’t.
“When I lost all my hair as well as undergoing such tough treatment, it was a real setback and I totally lost my confidence.”
In her journey to regain her health and self-esteem, Helen was 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, Helen said: “Before my treatment started I went to see a hairdresser who trains mynewhair stylists at the Tribeca Salon in East Boldon. Darren was fantastic and suggested several wigs to match my hair, as I really wanted the wig to be identical to the hair I currently had.
“He reassured me the hair would be a good match and gave me confidence to try the wig before the hair loss started.
“While there are wigs, cold caps and other products available for people who suffer from hair loss, mynewhaircharity offer a tailored service. Many hair loss sufferers are not aware of the choices they have regarding wig styling, and I am thankful for the information I received.”
As losing hair can be a traumatic experience for sufferers, mynewhair also offers mobile hair dressers nationally who can offer their services to sufferers in the comfort of their new home.
Helen continued: “No one could have prepared me for the feeling of losing all my self-esteem. While I was losing my hair I went back to see Darren. He fitted the wig properly for me and he showed me how to apply the wig sock, tighten and care for my wig. The wig fitted perfectly. As much as I liked how it looked, it took me a while to adjust.”
mynewhair has trained hundreds of hair professionals around the country to provide a wig cutting and advice service to those suffering from medical hair loss.
Helen said: “Many people do not realise how much their hair means to them until they start losing it. mynewhair didn’t just give me a make-over. They gave me back my self-esteem. All of a sudden I was no longer Helen with cancer, I was back to being just Helen.
“Since working with mynewhair, I have met two other hair loss sufferers whom I referred to the charity, and they also had a life changing experience.”
Founder of mynewhair, Trevor Sorbie, MBE, said: “The charity offers real support to people suffering from hair loss through illness. For many women, like Helen, having a styled wig that’s tailored just for them, can help overcome the missing link in their treatment, giving them the confidence to face the world during such a difficult time.
“I’m very passionate about mynewhair and it’s my aim to highlight what the service can offer and make it as accessible to people as possible through the wide range of salons, out of hours appointments, and home visit services we offer throughout the North East and on a national level.”
mynewhair provides training seminars for hair professionals, following completion of which these professionals become part of their salon network - Salons that Care. They currently have 13 Salons that Care in the North East alone and 17 stylists operating in the salons, including 2 that work at the RVI.
You can donate to the charity by texting MYNH00 followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070.