Hi, I’m Jenni, a hairstylist of 16 years. I work alongside HAIR REBORN as an ambassador for the charity.
In 2014 at age 23 I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Upon diagnosis, one of the first questions I asked was will I lose my hair? I was in the process of planning our wedding for later that same year, I’d already picked my dress, hairstyle and accessories; hair loss was not part of the plan!
Unfortunately, hair loss was to be expected as a side effect of the regime of chemotherapy I was to undertake and the cold cap wasn’t available on the ward I was treated on.
In the grand scheme of things, you rationalise that it’s a small price to pay if the chemotherapy is successful, and whilst of course that’s true, hair loss for me like it is for many, was still a traumatic experience.
You’re constantly told it ‘should’ grow back with an after comment of ‘it might not be exactly the same though’. I had a lovely McMillan nurse called Sally, she advised me that ‘I wouldn’t come out of this experience the same person I went in’. Whilst she never clarified whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, I believe it’s down to personal perspective. To this day feel I value my life and the people in it much more than I ever did beforehand.
I started experiencing hair loss after my second session of chemo and had lost most of my hair by session 6 of 12. I was very lucky to be able to access funding for a human hair wig, this was a huge relief as the wigs I had previously looked at were nothing like my hair type or style, they all felt very ‘mature’ for a 23-year-old.
I’d had my hair cut shorter before starting chemo, and then again after my second treatment when my hair started to noticeably thin. Being a hairdresser myself and working in a salon I was spoilt for choice for friends to turn to for support during this, again something not everyone is lucky enough to have.
I’m very fortunate the treatment was fully successful. I’ve now been in remission for 7 years! We had postponed our wedding to the following year so that I could be feeling at my best and my friend Lisa was able to style my wig into the hairstyle I’d chosen before I’d lost my hair.
The NHS are phenomenal, and I will be forever grateful to the doctors, nurses and scientist whom without I may not have been here today. The work HAIR REBORN does is so important, there’s no other charity providing this service, so it really is essential. I’m proud to play a small role within the charity, when listening to the struggles someone may be facing, I can really relate to the situation firsthand having had my own similar experience. I vividly remember how precious that first peach fuzz of new hair coming through is and how many hours I must have spent researching ways to get my hair to grow thicker and quicker!
It’s rewarding to help a guest through the HAIR REBORN steps, to teach them how to care for their new hair, how to style a brand-new hairstyle and to get them feeling more confident. And by the end leaving with plan to be able to achieve their own personal hair goals.