A Brave Young Thing May 14 2013, 3 Comments

 

TANGLED have had a really encouraging few weeks. We’ve hosted a successful stall at a four-day event at the 02 and ordered our new stock of heat-resistant, beautiful-quality wigs that we have named the ‘Happy Feelin’s Collection’. The highlight for me, however was meeting a brave ten year-old girl called Hope and her loving family.

Hope was diagnosed with alopecia last October and has taken to wearing bandannas to cover a missing patch of hair at her crown. Her mum is warm, open and positive. Her dad and stepdad are clearly challenged by Hope’s condition, but refreshingly straight-talking and incredibly supportive. Hope was quiet when we met and I was nervous about what I was going to say, hoping that something would be right and make a difference…but before long I was hearing all about her wig design ideas; the questionnaires she has asked her friends about hairstyles; and answering her enthusiastic questions about styling and wearing wigs. Her mum watched this change in her daughter with a look of relief and contentment on her face. How difficult it must be to see your child go through something so hard. I hope I see that look again many times over.

Meeting Hope was a cathartic experience for me. She really reminded me of myself at her age and I thought about how strong I must have been, and how other people must have looked at me the way I do at Hope, as an extraordinarily brave girl. It also made me consider the pain my parents went through watching a maturing girl deal with being different and moving to a new school. What was clear to me was that no matter what happened next, I would be a part of Hope’s story and her memories of alopecia and childhood. I find that extremely touching.

Hope had a delightful, youthful abandon when it came to letting me and her family know how thrilled she was with her new wig. Before she left she whispered to me ‘Your designs are so wicked!’ I remembered how happy I used to be when I had a new wig and it felt great to provide this for somebody else. Tangled really got its sense of worth that day.

Today Hope goes to school for the first time in her wig. I’m nervous for her because I’m a slightly mistrusting adult now. I’m going to lead from Hope’s example though and be excited, as I know she will have been. I can picture her now running in from school with a hundred happy stories. I kinda wish I was there!