In 2008, pioneering hair transplant surgery was recommended for 14-year-old Caroline, who was suffering from frontal alopecia following chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumour diagnosed at nine years of age.
The cost of hair restoration was prohibitive despite the goodwill offer of a reduced fee by the hair transplant clinic.
The HSE declined a request for financial assistance, considering the proposed procedure to be ‘cosmetic’. Although the young patient accepted these unfortunate circumstances, her parents were distraught.
The clinic provided written endorsements on behalf of the patient to the HSE, her own hospital and several children’s cancer charities.
The clinic waived the surgeons’ fees.
The subsequent procedure has resulted in the enhanced psychological and physical demeanour and well-being of the patient.
The child’s quiet acceptance, despite the lack of options available, has inspired the search for funds to help her and others restore a little something of ‘self’ that may have been have been lost to the trauma and treatment.
And thus, Mia was established to formalise a pro-bono service for patients who have suffered traumatic hair loss, but are unable to access restorative options privately or in the public health domain, due to financial constraints.
To avail of hair restoration treatment options, widely considered unavailable on the HSE, would significantly increase the psychological well-being of the patient as well as family and friends.