Harrogate youngster hoping to emulate 'Disney princesses' after alopecia diagnosis

Charley Shepherd (5)and her mum Helen Oliver. (1511302AM7)
Charley Shepherd (5)and her mum Helen Oliver. (1511302AM7)

A brave Harrogate youngster whose losing her hair through alopecia is hoping to purchase new wigs so she can look like her favourite Disney princesses.

Charley Shepherd, 5, began to lose patches of her hair in May through stress as her mother underwent frequent operations to battle a womb disease.

By October, three-quarters of her hair had fallen out and, after a series of negative blood tests, doctors at Harrogate Hospital confirmed she was suffering with alopecia.

Despite the devastating news that all her hair may eventually fall out, Charley reacted bravely and immediately began planning how to cover up the condition.

Charley’s mother, Helen Oliver, has now started a fundraising page for her daughter to help raise money needed to buy the necessary wigs to help her look like ‘a Disney princess’.

She said: “I started to notice the problem in May. I was combing her hair and found a bald patch on her head as a 50 pence piece and it doubled after a week.

“The doctor said she should undergo treatment for three months before we took her to the hospital but by the time we did half of her hair had gone.

“There was no underlying cause found and she was diagnosed with alopecia. The doctors have told us that children who develop it have less chance of it growing back.

“The first thing she said after I told her there was a chance that she could lose it all was ‘can I have lots of wigs so I can look like a Disney princess.”

However, due to the high cost of the wigs and one only lasting from six months to a year, Helen has now started a gofundme page to raise the money needed.

Almost £1000 has been raised so far with her friend even offering to cut off all of her hair to help raise money for Charley.

Helen said the reaction to the gofundme page has been ‘incredible’ but admitted it’s been difficult for both her and Charley to deal with the situation.

She said: “She was so nervous and upset at the thought of going back to school. She was asking if all the kids would laugh at her and start pulling her wig. It really is heart-breaking.

“But the school have been really good about it all, they have spoken to the children because they will obviously ask questions about it all.

“It’s more the adult reaction that has concerned us. A lot of people on the street will talk about her quite loudly and stop and stare but thankfully it’s just me that’s noticed.

“All we can do is reassure her that it’s going to be ok.”