By Liana Jacob
MEET THE stunning British mum-of-two who felt like she had lost her identity when her hair started falling out due to alopecia, but who with the support of her husband has embraced her beauty, SHAVED HER HEAD and raised almost £2K for charity.
Youth worker and mum-of two daughters, Miya (8) and Daisy (one-year-old), Chloe Heaton (28), from Lancashire, UK, was at a race event in 2017 with her husband, Ben, when she felt a soft patch on the back of her head and began to panic.
She felt devastated when she was diagnosed with alopecia as she took pride in her hair and had deliberately decided to grow a long length to donate it.
She decided to turn a negative situation into a positive one by shaving the rest of her hair off to help raise money for Alopecia UK and raise awareness of the condition.
Since then she has made it her mission to embrace her beauty on social media to inspire others to love their look. With a target of £500, Chloe ended up raising over £1,860 for Alopecia UK in just a couple of months.
“I was twenty-seven-years-old at a race event when I ran my fingers through my hair; I felt the most bizarre soft patch on the back of my head. It started out as the size of a pound coin,” Chloe said.
“I was absolutely devastated and felt like my world had come to a stop. I’ve always looked after my hair and took pride in it.
“So, for something to sneak in the night and rob me of, what I thought was my identity, I felt ruined. No one really could react because I didn’t tell people for at least a year and half.
“When I was diagnosed with Alopecia my world stopped and I wanted to disappear. This had an effect on everything, as you can imagine.
“Nobody knew or even realised. I was a master at covering it up whilst I could. I still didn’t tell people, even when wearing a headscarf until they asked (which wasn’t often).
“All I wanted to do was hide in my house and not leave. I had constant support off my husband and two girls all the time.
“They always told me how beautiful I was! I had a lot of support and advice too from a lady called Amy at Alopecia UK. We spoke a lot through email and she was amazing.
“I originally wanted to grow my hair long, so I could donate it. Unfortunately, my hair didn’t meet the criteria, so I have decided to keep it and frame it.
“I needed reassurance when it came to the big shave day at Aintree. Had to ask close family and friends to make sure I was doing the right thing.
“Of course, I was, I just needed the confirmation. The other issue I had was doing the school run or food shop; well just going out altogether. Before I shaved my head, I used to wear headscarves all the time. I felt I could hide behind them.
“I still get self-conscious and feel everyone’s eyes on me. I wanted to turn the negative into a positive. Plus, I wanted to raise money for Alopecia UK as they aren’t government supported and don’t receive much help.
“The only donations they receive are from the public. I wanted to raise as much as possible for them and also bring awareness to a taboo illness. I was quite numb at the idea and didn’t think about it really until the night before.
“After I exceeded my target I was absolutely astounded. I couldn’t believe the support I had received. I only wanted to raise £500 so to now be just shy of £2,000 I’m blown away.”
Alopecia areata is a condition where hair is lost from some or all areas of the body. It often results in a few bald spots on the scalp.
Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Risk factors include a family history and there is no cure for the condition.
Chloe now credits her husband for helping her embrace her beauty and confidence.
“Ben is my number one fan (and I am his). He is the most supportive and encouraging person I’ve ever me and he is always telling me how beautiful I am,” she said.
“He holds my hand through everything and is a true blessing. I love and adore him so much. My family and friends think it’s great that I’m fully embracing myself.
“They all tell me how much I suit it and that I can ‘pull it off’. I was even told I had a nice shaped head.
“Be strong! Embrace as much positivity as you can and let go of the negative. No one can make you do any better, only you as you do everything in your own time.”