BRAVE CHLOE'S HAIR LOSS TORMENT; Teen battles bullying - and now has dream of Navy career shattered.
AFTER battling the trauma of losing her hair, Chloe Jones' dreams of serving her country have been shattered.
The 15-year-old was devastated when clumps of her hair started to fall out shortly before her 13th birthday.
She has since dealt with taunts on the playground and bravely spoke out to raise awareness of alopecia at her school in Holyhead, Anglesey.
The teenager also kept serving with the sea cadets as she planned for a life of adventure and travel on the high seas with the Royal Navy.
But now her dreams have been all but wrecked after a Navy career adviser said it would be very difficult for her to ever pass a medical for active service.
Chloe said: "I wanted to serve my country, I feel upset that I want to fight for my country but instead they make me fight to even join the Navy, especially as I am perfectly healthy. "I have dreamed of being in the Navy for years but now that seems to be over."
Chloe's life was turned upside down back in 2010.
She said: "It was a few weeks before my 13th birthday that small patches of my hair started to fall out.
"It was very scary and I did not know what was happening.
"I had lots of blood tests done to see if it was something serious that was causing this. They found that I was perfectly healthy and I was diagnosed with alopecia.
"Hair came out the back at first but then on the top of my head. It was very upsetting for a few months, it was hard.
"Some people in school started to make comments. I wore a headscarf in school to cover the patches and some boys would pull it off, it was really humiliating for me."
Chloe got in contact with charity Alopecia UK and through this link they arranged for children's author Sue Hampton, who has had alopecia, to come to Holyhead High School.
She spoke alongside Chloe in front of pupils about the experience of living with the condition.
Chloe, who has alopecia areata, which means clumps of hair fall out rather than full baldness, said: "That changed everything for me, it got everything out in to the open and from then on it changed.
"People came up to me to say well done on doing what I did.
"Some came to me to say sorry for anything they had said previously that upset me.
"It made a huge difference coming out and telling people about the condition rather than keeping it hidden. "A lot of people keep it hidden, and I understand this as people deal with things differently, but for me it has been better out in the open.
"I wouldn't let it stop me from doing things. I have kept up with sea cadets and karate and also continue to go swimming.
"It is nothing to be ashamed of, it is good to be different sometimes."
Chloe, who has raised money for Alopecia UK, and Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children with cancer or alopecia, is now having DCP treatment to try to stimulate growth in the patches where she has lost her hair.
She said: "It is a slow process, it will be six months before there is any growth and that is if it is working."
Chloe is now doing her GCSEs and had then planned to join the Navy.
She said: "Since a child that has been my dream and I have been in the cadets for five years.
"But two months ago I spoke with a careers officer from the Royal Navy.
"They told me it would be very difficult to pass the medical even though doctors say I am perfectly healthy.
"They say because they don't know what causes alopecia they think it would be hard to pass the medical.
"I have not completely given up hope but it now looks very difficult. It has really upset me."
A spokesman for the Royal Navy said that its medical tests were stringent due to the unique nature of roles in the service.
But he sad that each case would be treated individually.
NO TREATMENT Alopecia areata is another type of hair loss, involving patches of baldness that may come and go.
It can occur at any age, but mostly affects teenagers and young adults. Six of 10 people who are affected develop their first bald patch before they are 20 years old.
Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness). There is no proven effective treatment. In most cases, the hair grows back after about a year.
Some people with alopecia areata go on to develop a more severe form of hair loss such as alopecia totalis (no scalp hair) or alopecia universalis (no hair on the scalp and body).
Chloe Jones from Holyhead has alopecia and was devastated when clumps of her hair started to fall out shortly before her 13th birthday
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|Publication:||Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Mar 24, 2013|
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