I'm so excited to be getting new hair! 3,000-a-year hair system will give teen suffering from alopecia a new lease of life
23:32 GMT, 29 May 2012
A brave girl who lost all her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes to alopecia at the age 11 is delighted to be getting a new 'hair system' that will make her feel 'like any other young teenager' again.
Cassie Blackstock, now 15, is getting a new type of wig which is a breathable mesh cap with real hair weaved into it that will be attached to her scalp with surgical tape. The hair will be more secure and natural-looking than a conventional wig, giving Cassie more confidence.
The hair system costs 3000-a-year to maintain so Cassie's family have been organising fundraising events such as sponsored walks to raise the money.
Inspirational: Cassie Blackstock, 15, pictured with her mum Belinda, has posed for pictures without wearing a wig to raise awareness of alopecia
Her mother Belinda, 42, said: 'The Hair System will free her from the
inconvenience of wearing a wig and make her feel like any other young
teenager. We also want to raise awareness of the condition, because
hardly anyone ever talks about it.'
Cassie recently shared her excitement at getting the new hair on Twitter by tweeting, 'very happy girl, everything is coming together for me. New hair should be here in two weeks, so excited!'
As a child, Cassie from Rishton, Lancashire played for a local netball team and dreamed of a career in sport. But after she was diagnosed with alopecia and started losing her hair, she quit playing after becoming afraid she would lose her wig during a match.
But her mother said her inspirational daughter didn't let her condition get her down for long and she has since discovered an interest in beauty. She now has her own beautician's table in her bedroom and gives make-overs to her friends.
Hope: Cassie has been wearing wigs but is soon to get a new hair system that will be attached to her scalp with surgical tape
Belinda said: 'Cassie loved playing netball and her friends, who also played, were really supportive about it all but she was just too worried about playing in her wig. Originally she wanted to do sports science at university and train to be a physiotherapist, because she was into all her sports.
'Giving that up was heartbreaking for her – but we've seen what she's like doing nails, hair and beauty. And the fact that it can make such a huge difference to someone's confidence is fantastic; you can see with Cassie just what a difference it makes.'
Cassie first began to lose her hair, in January 2008 and, over the next four years, became completely bald, even losing her eyelashes and eyebrows.
She had been was playing with her two
cousins doing her hair when one of the girls pointed
out a bald patch on the back of her head. They told her Aunty, who she was staying with at the time, and she made her a doctor's appointment for the next morning.
Sporty: Before she lost her hair, the teenager loved to play netball
who was away on a business trip, was heartbroken to receive a call from
her husband, Andrew, 47, telling her their daughter had alopecia.
parents knew there was a slim chance of Cassie getting the illness as
Andrew had suffered the condition when he was young but his hair had
grown back within 18 months.
said: 'They'd been told by the doctors that it was alopecia. Andrew had
it when he was a teenager but his came back 18 months later.
'The first thing I did when I got home was to give her a huge hug and tell her everything is going to be okay. But I did have to sit down with her and explain what alopecia was and what it would mean for her.'
New passions: Since being diagnosed, Cassie has discovered a talent for beauty and enjoys doing her own nails and make-up as well as giving her friends make-overs
Cassie had check-ups every six months with specialists and was given steroid cream to encourage her hair to grow. But by Christmas 2011 she had lost all her hair, leaving the once bubbly school girl down and withdrawn.
Belinda said: 'We did think her hair was growing back at one point, but one morning she woke up it was all over the pillow.
always been really supportive and she's always been really positive but
when she lost her eyelashes and eyebrows, I think it hit her the most.'
Cassie has been able to get wear wigs on the NHS and found solace in styling them with hair straightners and curlers.
And thanks to the new hair system she is soon to receive, that her family and friends hope her confidence will soar even higher.