Nurse who survived breast cancer thanks charity who helped her after she lost her hair during chemotherapy

A nurse who survived breast cancer is aiming to raise the profile of a charity which helped boost her confidence when she lost her hair during chemotherapy.

Julie McDonald, deputy director of nursing at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, needed chemotherapy which caused her to lose all her hair after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year

Julie before her chemotherapy treatment (left) and wearing her wig (right)

Julie before her chemotherapy treatment (left) and wearing her wig (right)

Julie, of Penshaw, Sunderland, is now in remission and says the chairy mynewhair helped give her back the confidence to carry on with life as normal.

The mum-of-three had two tumours removed before her course of chemotherpay and she was told she would lose her hair.

Julie said: “I felt really anxious about the treatment and I really wanted to choose a wig before the chemotherapy started.

“My nurse told me about mynewhair salons who work with the NHS to provide high quality wigs and I got in touch with Darren Stuart from Tribeca Hair Salon in East Boldon.

Julie without her hair

Julie without her hair

“The fact that Darren was willing to see me before my treatment started was a huge help.

“He really made it a great appointment by putting my worries to rest and helping me feel prepared for my treatment.”

Darren is trained by the national charity which was founded and inspired by celebrity hair dresser Trevor Sorbie, MBE.

Julie added: “My appointment with Darren was a really positive experience. I took a close friend with me and after trying on several options I found a style which matched my own hair.

Julie McDonald

Julie McDonald

“Darren ordered the wig in exactly the right colour and styled it so the wig looked like my own.

“It was so reassuring going in for my first chemotherapy appointment to know that I already had my wig.

“By my third bout of chemotherapy I had lost all my hair, including my eyebrows and eyelashes. It was very distressing but my wig was a lifesaver. It gave me the confidence to carry on with life as normal.”

She added: “A lot of people didn’t realise that I had lost my hair and commented on how well I looked although I didn’t actually feel it.”

Julie with husband Brian McDonald at Glastonbury Festival in 2017

Julie with husband Brian McDonald at Glastonbury Festival in 2017

Darren, who is one of the charity’s founders and a key part of the education team, said: “I’m delighted to have been able to support Julie and give her a wig to help regain her self-esteem. For many women, like Julie, having a styled wig that’s tailored just for them, can help overcome the missing link in their treatment, giving them a more positive outlook.”

The charity provides training seminars for hair professionals, who then become part of their salon network - Salons that Care. There are currently 13 in the North East and 17 stylists.

Ann Fox, executive director of Nursing, Quality and Safety for Sunderland NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, and chairman of the mynewhair board of trustees added: “Being involved with mynewhair and the charity’s education team from the beginning, after many years as a cancer nurse and senior nurse, is a privilege.

“Alongside my nursing academic colleague Joanne Atkinson, Head of Subject Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Northumbria University we’ve used our experience to help to prepare stylists for some of the difficult and sensitive situations they could encounter.”

To contact the charity, go to www.mynewhair.org

Julie picture while wearing her wig

Julie picture while wearing her wig