Mia is a young woman who experienced traumatic hair loss due to burns suffered as a very young baby. The area of scarring is significant, but well camouflaged and would be very obvious if she tied her hair back.
Here’s a recent update from Mia:
After my amputation in 2013 I have been flying it. I have finished from secondary school and have gone on to college in UCD. I am actually studying General Nursing.
I am going into 2nd year and have finished my placement in the mater hospital. I am honestly loving nursing.
I am a member of YAC (Youth advisory council) which is a group of young people who share their experiences as users of hospital services in order to improve the care children and young people receive in the three paediatric hospitals in Ireland.
YAC also feed into the design and delivery of services in the planned new children’s hospital.
I am also on the Art council as a representative of the patients. This Art council is for the new children’s hospital which was set up for all the art that will be going into the new hospital.
Lastly I am on the HIQA children’s reference group for the development of Overarching National Standards for the Care and Support of Children using Health and Social Care Services.
In terms of my procedures, my last one was my amputation in 2013 and I am currently using a prosthetic leg.
Mia’s story and energy, despite adversity, inspired the name of the Charity.
One of our clients is a young man named Ciaran. Here is a testimony from his parents:
When our little little baby was six weeks old he was burned in an accidental fire at home. His brother of two-and-a-half at the time was playing with matches and set alight his Moses basket on fire. As a result of that accident he suffered severe burns to his head mainly to the top and right side, where he was treated with skin grafts but no hair ever grew back.
He was also given the Ballooning treatment at three years of age but because he was very upset with the whole treatment, we stopped it all. We couldn’t put him through any more pain. Now we have found a perfect solution for our son who is now 14 yrs old and he is happy with it, which is his hairpiece. He has been attending a clinic in Dublin, specialising in hair systems, since he started his first year in secondary school and now entering his third year. Throughout national school, where there was just a small amount of students, he always just wore a bandana without any problems but then he felt things might change in secondary school, so he wanted a hairpiece. This is a brilliant service but can be costly as I am a carer on weekly pay and my husband is on a FAS course. We do get an annual payment from the HSE which eases the cost a bit.
I am 14 years old. I suppose when I was much younger and less conscious of my appearance, the lack of hair on parts of my head was not such a big issue, but in the last few years as I’ve grown up and gone to secondary school, it could have been a big problem.
Attending the clinic has given me new confidence, as the hairpieces are so natural-looking and they are even able to alter the style to fit in with current fashions! It has genuinely changed my life in this regard, and I honestly don’t know how I would face the world without the help I have been given.
Testimony of Caroline’s parents:
When our daughter, Caroline was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2003 when she was just nine years old it was a very traumatic time for all the family. Having spent our time in Crumlin Childrens hospital where she received her chemotherapy this was followed by six weeks of radiotherapy in St. Luke’s Hospital. The day that her hair started to fall out broke our hearts as parents. This was not what you expect your daughter to have to go through. She was very brave and just said if it’s going to fall out we may as well cut it short. She had gorgeous long blonde hair. This added to the upset. She had a wig which she wore then she eventually returned to school. Several years went by and she just cast the wig aside when her hair started to grow.
However hair never returned to the front of her head due to extensive radiotherapy. We met with Dr. Rosemarie Watson, Consultant Dermatologist in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin and she referred us to a hair restoration clinic for assessment. We met the surgeon and team in 2008 and were advised Caroline had sufficient hair in the donor area for a transplant.We were apprehensive as this was further treatment on Caroline after all she had suffered but the team put us all at ease as they talked us through the process. Once the decision was taken to proceed we had the further worry of the cost but we set about raising the funds immediately as this was something we wanted to be able to do for Caroline.
With the support and wonderful encouragement of the team wonderful surgery was possible. The transplant (part 1) that took place I must say is changing Caroline’s life. She will tell you all this herself. We are delighted that the Mia Charity has been set up because if one more person gets a chance to smile and be confident again it will be worth it.
– Sean and Bernie.
My name is Caroline. As my Mam and Dad have said losing my hair was very upsetting. For a few years I just got on with my life as I felt lucky that I had made a full recovery and also that there was nothing I could do about my hair. I had an appointment with Dr Rosemarie Watson in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin and she told me about the hair restoration option.
The team there are most sincere and welcoming and I didn’t feel one bit nervous. I felt I could trust them completely. I was a bit taken aback at first at the cost as I did not want my parents to have to do this for me but as usual they just said yes we will manage somehow.
I had surgery which was painless and I followed the aftercare exactly as they said. The result is amazing. I had my Debs during the summer and got my hair done in Peter Marks. I felt like a princess and it’s all thanks to the team. All my friends and family are amazed at the transformation and delighted with the outcome.
The whole procedure is very intricate but with the skill of all the surgeons, the results speak for themselves. I know it is mostly men that get this procedure but if any girl finds herself in my situation all I can say is “go for it”. I will lend my support to the Mia Charity as I feel privileged to have got this opportunity and would like a similar experience for others.