She holds herself differently
Leah’s mum Rachel says she sees a little light go on in her eight-year-old daughter when she puts her Variety wig on.
“She holds herself differently,” says Rachel, a full-time student and single parent who appealed to Variety to help her daughter after finding out about the Hair With Heart program through Freedom Wigs which works closely with Variety.
Leah received her first Variety wig at age five and has now grown to a second wig which is longer and a dark shade of blonde.
“She’ll often go to school in with it in one style and she’ll come home with it styled differently – it’s a form of self-expression and she’s just like any little girl,” says Rachel.
For Leah, who has Alopecia Totalis and has also been diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, having a wig has increased her confidence and provided the chance to do the same things as other girls her age. The new wig’s style is also more practical as the hair doesn’t get in her face and become annoying, a sensation which can be amplified with her condition.
Having a wig has actually made Leah more accepting of not having hair.
“Leah’s self-confidence has changed dramatically due to having access to a wig,” says Rachel.
“She now understands having hair isn’t everything and now she knows she is enough just as she is, without hair.
“Leah doesn’t always wear it but simply having access to a wig gives Leah the chance to be like everyone else physically when she needs to feel more secure in situations.
“With the wig on, she feels she can walk into somewhere new and nobody looks at her – not having any attention is a good thing in new situations, particularly.
“And it gives her an extra confidence boost for things like standing in front of the class to talk, which she would never have done before – she takes part in things more.”