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Brave alopecia sufferer Keeva is an inspiration; Mum Debbie Murphy tells RTE's Today Show young daughter lost her hair she eventually from The Rapunzel Foundation whose selflegiven Keeva new-found confidence. By Abigail O'Leary.

Byline: Abigail O'Leary

A brave child who suffers from alopecia has told how she wants to raise awareness about the condition to help others in the same situation.

Keeva Murphy was just four when she started to lose small patches of her hair for, seemingly, no reason at all.

By the time she was five-and-halfyears-old Keeva was totally bald, losing her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes to the condition which is often associated with stress or emotional trauma.

She kept saying 'I have again'. It the most amazing experience I have witnessed Her mum Debbie, from Co Leitrim, said the pain of not knowing why her daughter was experiencing the condition and trying to explain what was happening to a nine-year-old was devastating. The 45-year-old told RTE's Today s four and we he had a little Show: "She had a fall when she was went to Crumlin Hospital where shoperation on her knee.

"Within two weeks, we got hostarted getting little patcfalling out.

"By the time she was nstarted to fall out more anwas five-and-a-half all hcompletely gone."

Keeva, the youngest ofwas a healthy and happy cfamily struggled to procelittle girl was suffering from Debbie said Keeva felt ever her whether again.

suffering and often asked she would ever have hair aBut with doctors unable explanation for her hafamily had no idea why she was sue to offer any air-loss, the uffering from d r the condition and whether her hair would grow back.

: g ea e ut Debbie added: "We were watching an interview on the TV one day where a little girl called Claire was talking about her hair loss.

"It was very upsetting for [Keeva] when the hair just kept going, but that helped her know she was not alone."

As the youngster grew up, the family began investigating options of fitting Keeva with a wig, but found synthetic hair pieces were a bad fit and often fell off.

Debbie then searched online for someone who could help and read about The Rapunzel Foundation which helps create "Freedom Wigs" f hild h h l tthi hi I th for children who have lost their hair. In the run-up to her Holy Communion this May, Keeva was desperate to have hair for her special day and Debbie set about fundraising to pay for a Freedom Wig.

Debbie said: "We couldn't find enough red hair and we tried everything and it took a long, long time, but she finally had it 10 days before her Communion."

When Keeva wore her wig for the first time, her mum described it as "amazing" to see her daughter so happy. Debbie said: "She kept saying 'Wow, I have hair again'. It was the most amazing experience I have ever witnessed."

Debbie added the best thing about the wig is it gives her daughter the choice of having hair or not.

And the pretty nine-year-old received support from four girls, inset, who selflessly donated their own ponytails live on screen to the Rapunzel Foundation.

Ciara Brazil, 18, from New Ross, Wexford, is donating her hair for the second time to the foundation, while 11-year-old Emily McCormack, from Kings Court, Co Cavan, raised [euro]500 through sponsorship for Rapunzel.

Sisters Dearbhla, 11 and six-year-old Grainne Browne, from Mallow, Co Cork, received the chop from Daithi and Maura and now their ponytails will help make Freedom Wigs for others.

.To donate to the Rapunzel Foundation go to

She kept saying 'Wow, I have hair again'. It was the most amazing experience I have ever witnessed


PONY-TALE Keeva Murphy with RTE Presenters Daithi O Se and Maura Derrane and the four girls donating hair to The Rapunzel Foundation, Ciara Brazil, Emily McCormack and sisters Dearbhla and Grainne Browne
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 29, 2015
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