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Children with alopecia, and their families, find support at a new weekend camp.

Monday, 27 November, 2017

The first ever Alopecia Areata Adventure Camp has brought families of 30 children from around Australia together for a weekend of fun, learning and support.

The Camp, held at Dubbo over the weekend of November 17 to 19, was organised by the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (AAAF) in partnership with Variety — the Children’s Charity NSW/ACT. The camp was funded by the Foundation with a grant of $74,800 to ensure children affected by alopecia have access to high-quality, fitted, real hair wigs and opportunities like the Alopecia Areata Adventure Camp.

AAAF President Chel Campbell said she had dreamt of bringing kids with Alopecia from all over Australia together since her son was diagnosed at age 2. It has been 20 years since then and her dream has become a reality.

Variety NSW CEO David Sexton said the cost of high-quality fitted wigs can be out of reach of many families and that Variety was committed to helping as many kids living with childhood alopecia as possible.

"A human-hair wig typically costs three to six thousand dollars so the support of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation means that many more young people will have access to quality wigs," Mr Sexton said. 

"They have also given the priceless opportunity for these kids to meet others with alopecia. It can be hard to find where to turn to in the community for support and this camp is a chance for the children and their families to grow their support networks."

Alopecia camp attendee Hannah, in a purple shirt and red hat
Hannah attended the first Alopecia Areata Adventure Camp.

"They have also given the priceless opportunity for these kids to meet others with alopecia."

Variety NSW CEO David Sexton

Medical hair loss can have an enormous psychological effect, particularly for young people as they already struggle to feel like they ‘fit in’. Even a child with a healthy self-concept may feel threatened resulting in a loss of self-image, confidence and self-esteem, which can impact their education, social networks and overall health.

The Camp, held at Dubbo over the weekend of November 17 to 19, was organised by the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (AAAF) in partnership with Variety — the Children’s Charity NSW/ACT. The camp was funded by the Foundation with a grant of $74,800 to ensure children affected by alopecia have access to high-quality, fitted, real hair wigs and opportunities like the Alopecia Areata Adventure Camp.

Medical hair loss can have an enormous psychological effect, particularly for young people as they already struggle to feel like they 'fit in'. Even a child with a healthy self-concept may feel threatened resulting in a loss of self-image, confidence and self-esteem, which can negatively affect their education, social networks and overall health. 

Foundation Chair Phil Neat said it was important kids had access to services that support emotional well-being.

"For a young person already dealing with a medical condition like alopecia or cancer, this program provides important support for self-confidence and emotional and social well-being," Mr Neat said.

The Foundation has supported Variety since 2007, providing funds for Sunshine Coaches and the unprecedented Vision for Life project, which saw the installation of state-of-the-art, high quality tele-medicine video systems in 13 hospitals throughout regional NSW to link local hospital staff and clinicians with specialists at the statewide Newborn and pediatric Emergency Transport Service. 

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