Sara on hair, body image and fundraising

Story
Sara is smiling. She is wearing a gold cardigan and big necklace.

Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014. Her treatment meant she lost her hair, a concept that she found hard to deal with at first. But Sara decided to make this into a positive. She began taking pictures of herself wearing a different hat every day and shared them online. She now has a huge social media following and has raised more than £14,000 for Macmillan.

'I was taking control of the situation and it felt really good.'

I have always had long, thick, blonde hair and I found the idea of losing it really horrendous. I was so scared of it. I think it's an important thing for your identity. Then I realised that this was going to happen anyway so I decided to do something positive about it.

I decided at first that I would try some crazy hairstyles and have a different one most days. So I went to the hairdressers and asked for one of those undercuts and had one whole side of my hair shaved. Then I actually ended up with a Mohawk after that. I was taking control of the situation and it felt really good. I could also try out those hairstyles that I would have never considered. I enjoyed it. 

'Then I actually ended up with a Mohawk after that.'

Then I realised that I wouldn’t be able to do the hair thing for long, as it was all actually starting to fall out. So I wanted to raise money for Macmillan to show my gratitude and decided to wear a new hat or headgear every day of my treatment. Things just snowballed from there. I have met some wonderful people and the online reaction has been amazing. I keep getting sent hats and have raised more than £14,000.

When I told my oncologist about it, he asked if this was a displacement exercise and I suppose it is in many ways. I was worried about the loss of my hair so I have taken control of it and am enjoying it.

Of course I still have down days and I don’t like the way it looks sometimes. I can feel like I look like an alien. I didn’t want to wear a wig because I thought that seemed dishonest in a way. I am not ashamed of how I look. That’s who I am. I have never wanted the sympathy vote or the feeling that people were feeling sorry for me. I keep that out of it. I want to show positivity in the face of it.

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