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Wig was a 'safety net' that took away pressure

Wig was a 'safety net' that took away pressure

'I wanted to be a student, not 'the student with cancer'

When Lauren Hickinbottom underwent chemotherapy, she always wore her Little Princess Trust wig.

The wig was, in her own words, her safety net and helped to take away the pressure society places on young people to ‘fit in’.

Lauren was studying a BA in politics at Sheffield University when she received the shattering news that she had Hodgkin lymphoma.

She started treatment but only told close friends and family that she had cancer.

“I didn’t want people knowing because I didn’t want the sympathy that came with it,” she said.

“I wanted to be a student, not ‘the student with cancer’.”

Lauren, right, said her wig gave her the confidence to continue to socialise as a student.

It was after her second chemotherapy session when Lauren began to lose her hair – and when she received a wig from The Little Princess Trust.

Lauren added: “Being young, there is so much pressure on the way you look already and fitting a mould – when you lose your hair you don’t fit in any mould.

“I always wore my wig. That was my safety net and, despite being a big adjustment, it did give me a sense of confidence.”

Teenage Cancer Trust told Lauren about our free wigs and it wasn’t long before we were able to put Lauren in contact with one of our accredited wig fitters at Trends Wigs in Sheffield.

They cut and styled the wig as per Lauren’s instructions and the wig made her feel “less like somebody who was having chemo and more normal”.

Lauren's wig was styled by Trends Wigs in Sheffield.

Lauren added: “I wore my wig everywhere and cannot emphasise the difference it made to my life.

“Having it be real hair and not synthetic was also amazing because it meant I could straighten and curl it just as I would've done usually for my hair.”

Lauren, who is now 22, finished treatment last year and five months later received the news that she was cancer-free.

Despite undergoing treatment through her time at university, Lauren graduated with a 2:1 and is now studying for a master’s degree in marketing management.

Lauren said that she could straighten and curl her wig as she would have done with her hair before treatment.

She has also been travelling, visiting South Africa and Portugal, and has promised herself to make the most of any opportunity.

“I have always been a happy, positive person but I think if anything the cancer has made me even more so,” she said.

“I put more pressure on myself to find the things I really want to do now.”

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The MBE for voluntary groups was awarded to The Little Princess Trust by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.