Brave Hornchurch teen talks about devastating hair loss, alopecia
Curly or straight? Up ‘do or down? This is probably the height of most teenage girls’ hair dilemmas.
But for Hannah Dennis, 18, her choices are starker: to wear a wig or bandana?
The former student, from Hornchurch, went completely bald over just ten days because of devastating hair loss condition, alopecia.
Now the brave teen has taken to YouTube to chronicle to the world how she has dealt with losing her enviable brown locks to the disease which continues to perplex doctors and has no known cure.
She said: “I’ve had alopecia since I was 14-years-old, but it only majorly affected me when I went completely bald at the age of 16; for a teenage girl trying to get into modelling it really tore me apart!
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“Every day I’m forced to feel different and hide away. When I go out people stare or make comments; one day I want to be able to go out without anything on my head.”
Hannah, from Grosvenor Drive, also suffers from dangerous non-epileptic seizers, which have resulted in serious injuries from passing out, including fractures to her neck.
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She believes the conditions were both sparked by the vicious bullying which plagued her life since primary school.
Now she hopes that her online video messages will give hope to others suffering similar problems.
“Even though it’s hard I have found that helping others helps me so I make YouTube videos and have joined some online organisations to help support others.
“Adults and children go through this and much worse and even though I’m only 18, I would like to help make a change by raising awareness and support.”
One video has been viewed by more than 5,000 people with many lending encouraging words of support to Hannah in return.
Hannah, who volunteers with special needs children but is unable to work due to the seizures, now wants to heighten awareness of the condition in the hope it will lead to more medical research and eventually a cure.
She said: “Alopecia isn’t taken seriously by doctors, until I got I hadn’t even heard of it, and although it isn’t life-threatening it does have a huge impact on that person’s quality of life.
“I want people to start giving it the recognition sufferers deserve.”
Watch Hannah here: www.youtube.com/user/bouncybunny100/videos?flow=grid&view=0