Olivia lives with alopecia - now she's running to raise money to help others

Eastbourne running club Little Run Wednesdays has been supporting a small but important charity, Alopecia UK, following the diagnosis of member Olivia Haffenden.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:45 am
Olivia Haffenden is a fundraising champ
Olivia Haffenden is a fundraising champ

Olivia has been a member of Little Run Wednesdays since she was three years old.

Along with her mother Jem, a member of Female Run Wednesdays, and father Colin, of Meads Runners, the clubs have held raffles and fun runs to raise money and increase awareness for the charity that has supported Olivia and her family since her diagnosis early last year.

In January 2020, Olivia started losing clumps of her hair which then progressed on to complete bald patches at the sides, temple area and back of her head.

Olivia is a member of Little Run Wednesdays

Following a referral from a dermatologist, Olivia was diagnosed with alopecia areata by a paediatrician.

Her parents were told they did not know the extent to which Olivia would lose more hair but to be prepared she could have total hair loss.

Mum Jem said: “Olivia’s diagnosis came as quite a shock to us.

“Without the support of Alopecia UK we would not have known how to deal with the situation.

Olivia loves getting out and about running

“The charity has given us links with support groups and put us in touch with local parents whose children are going through the same thing. Although it is a small charity, they offer great support and organize regular meet ups and days out for children and adults with alopecia.”

Olivia started treatment with a course of immunosuppressant tablets to stimulate hair growth.

After six weeks the hair follicles stared to show signs of regrowth.

However, the medication left Olivia vulnerable to Covid infection and the difficult decision was made to suspend treatment.

Luckily, the six weeks of treatment had been enough to keep the hair growth going, and Olivia grew back hair in all the areas she had lost it.

Alopecia is something Olivia will now have to live with for the rest of her life.

It can be triggered by many causes.

Olivia said: “It’s brilliant that Little Run Wednesdays have raised so much for the Alopecia charity. Thank you to everyone for their support”.

Little Run Wednesdays and Meads Runners, along with other supporters of the family, have so far raised more than £1130 for the charity. If you have a child who enjoys running and would like to participate in training and fun events with other young runners, please see the Run Wednesdays face book page for further details.

Anyone wishing to contribute to Olivia’s fundraising for Alopecia UK can do so by donating directly to alopecia.co.uk