For my regular followers, I apologise for this blog post as it may seem like I am teaching granny to suck eggs... BUT, this week, I have taken over the @Chelt52 Twitter Account and will be sharing my story with more than 10,000 twitter followers.
When planning my week on @Chelt52, it seemed that the best place to start is at the very beginning (cue Julie Andrews here), and tell the @Chelt52 followers about who we are and what we do...
My name is Victoria Petkovic-Short and I have alopecia; an auto-immune condition where my own immune system attacks my healthy skin, hair and nail cells. There is no known cause of the condition (although many Doctors irritatingly ticked the 'stressed' box) and definitely no known cure. There are things which can help, but as they are either topical steroids or immunosuppressants, pursuit of flowing locks can often result in some nasty, terrifying and in many cases life-threatening side-effects! No thanks!
Losing your hair is often plonked in the 'who cares' box; people don't mean to sound harsh, but as I am so often told 'it's only hair'. While to an extent that is true - it is only hair and doesn't have a specific biological function - at the same time psychologically, this condition is debilitating, humiliating and all manner of other 'ting' words. In today's society, hair is inextricably linked to your femininity and masculinity and is given so much importance to who we are and what we do, that roughly 1 in 4 adverts on TV are for shampoo and 1 in 2 are for haircare products in general. In fact, haircare adverts outstrip make-up adverts by roughly 50%! Add to that the fact that one brand who shall remain nameless tells us we are 'worth it' when we have glossy, flowing locks and another tells us 'Greys, what greys' and suddenly that 'just hair' doesn't seem so trivial any more.
Losing my hair was difficult - in fact that is a huge understatement - and the whole time I was torn between feeling devastated and berating myself for getting so upset. It is the same (and yet so personal and different) for everyone, and is not to be underestimated, even though many of us are grateful to be alive and generally fairly healthy!
For me, one of the biggest challenges we face is a lack of awareness and even more so, a lack of money. Alopecia isn't 'fashionable' and couple that with the fact it is not life-threatening, and people give barely any money, if at all. In fact, what charities like Alopecia UK achieve on the relatively little they earn is phenomenal and something that they should be exceptionally proud of!
Pretty Bald was therefore an initiative that I set up to change perceptions of hairloss, fundraise for charity, build body-confidence and give something back. It may be a national rather than local initiative, but it is one that I am proud of and want to share with others in the community where I live!
I hope you enjoy my week and truly are not bored rigid!