For any person, losing their hair can be a traumatic experience.
But Tabitha Douglas thinks that she can make a huge difference in improving their confidence, and their lives.
Having initially arrived at Age UK in Peartree Bridge to operate a hairdressers for elderly people visiting the complex, Tabitha has now branched out into offering a wig service for people who suffer from alopecia, male pattern baldness, and cancer.
She started this latest venture after a close friend of hers was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her hair, and she wanted to see a natural-looking wig for her friend to use.
She now holds consultations with people who wish to purchase wigs, and treats them afterwards to maintain them. Custom-made wigs, created entirely from human hair, can start from £220, but it’s money that can change a life.
“I understand the devastation and lack of confidence the effects of hair loss can have on an individual, when I went through this with my close friend,” says Tabitha.
“Some people are very self-conscious and it brings them to tears. But once they have found the wig that suits them, you can tell by their smile that when they have left the salon, they have got their life back.”
Paul Griffiths, community developer of Age UK, said that while the service was based at Age UK, it is not
exclusively for old people.
“It’s a mutually beneficial partnership between Age UK and Tabitha, and it’s a great service to the community.
“It’s difficult for women, and men, who have illness and are going through treatment. For some it can be devastating, so having a service that gives them a confidential and discreet service can only be a good thing.
One of those benefiting from that service is Caroline Finch, 49, from Emerson Valley, who suffers from male pattern baldness, and has been visiting Tabitha since the start of her service.
“I found out I had it six years ago. It’s hormonal, there was hair growing on my face, but then hair falling out,” she told MK NEWS.
“It hasn’t all come out, it’s just the top bit, but it really knocked my self-esteem,” says Caroline, who worked at the Open University in the city.
“I’m a very shy person, but this has given me a lot of confidence and it makes me feel better. I have five wigs from Tabitha and can change them if I fancy something different in the morning.”
And Caroline remembers the first time she went home with a new purchase. She said: “When I got my first wig it was made of very dark hair. When my husband came back home from work and he saw me with hair it gave him quite a shock!”