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The Rapunzel Foundation Conference 2015 ” Alopecia and Proud”

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On the 18th October this year we held our 2nd National Rapunzel Foundation Conference in the Brandon House Hotel, in New Ross. The theme this year was “Alopecia and Proud”

18/10/2015 Alopecians photographed at the 'Alopecia and proud' conference at the Rapunzel 2nd national conference in the Brandon House Hotel, New Ross, Co.Wexford today. The conference highlights the people who donate their hair to make Freedom Wigs. Photo; Mary Browne.

18/10/2015
Alopecians photographed at the ‘Alopecia and proud’ conference at the Rapunzel 2nd national conference in the Brandon House Hotel, New Ross, Co.Wexford today. The conference highlights the people who donate their hair to make Freedom Wigs. Photo; Mary Browne.

Over 120 people attended, and were all inspired by the moving, heartfelt and emotional stories told by the guest speakers.

Our very talented Master of Ceremonies for the day was celebrity chef Edward Hayden. Edward’s warm welcome set the tone for the day.

Our very own Anna Furlong, founder of the Rapunzel Foundation, was the first to speak, thanking everyone for attending and especially those who travelled. Special mention was made of Gary & Deanne Beattie, the owners of Freedom Wigs who had travelled from New Zealand, and Jenny Larsson a Freedom representative from Sweden.

Next we met a very special young lady from Co. Wexford, Clare McGee who is just 14 years old. Clare spoke about her Alopecia with such feeling, saying that it didn’t affect her as a young child and how she only became aware of it as she got older.

In a light hearted moment the teenager said that the beauty of wearing a Freedom wig is that you can prepare it the night before so that you can sleep in a bit in the morning!!

Next to speak were Gary & Deanne Beattie from New Zealand, the owners of Freedom wigs. Gary & Deanne told the story of their daughter Libby, who lost hair and how this spurred them on to take over the company from the previous owners.

“They wanted to make a difference around the condition and make it better” and most importantly that “Our job is to make sure the best job you do is the best job for every child”.

Cian Murray is a young journalist with Joe.ie. His story took us back a year and a half when he began to lose his hair. He described the topsy – turvy emotional journey he endured while losing his hair. His speech was emotional and he shared with us how he lost his hair just prior to his sister’s wedding.

Cian ended on a positive note, tell the audience “Your hair is not you! You will still be the person you are with or without it”.

Probably the most emotional and inspiring speech of the day came next. Sean O’Riordan, a 21 year old from Limerick spoke about what it is like to have a sibling with Alopecia.

He spoke so lovingly about his sister who he described as one of the bravest and most resilient people he knows. And when he said he was one of the proudest brothers in the world when he sees what his sister has overcome there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Next to speak was 20 year old Nadine McCarthy from Dublin. The first time we met Nadine she was so insecure and shy, and yet here she was standing up to speak in front of a crowd of people.

Nadine told us how getting a Freedom wig meant so much to her, she had regained her confidence. She has started her first job, her own hair has grown back, and she wanted to thank everyone involved with the hair pieces because of the difference these can make to people with Alopecia.

The last of our speakers was Audrey O’Hara. Audrey is the Freedom Wig representative in Ireland, and told us the story of how she dealt with her alopecia and how she lost her self -esteem. She spoke about getting her Freedom Wig and how she became the person she is today. Audrey is a brilliant ambassador for Freedom Wigs, and everybody who knows Audrey will tell you that her kindness is never ending.

On bringing the conference to a close Anna introduced all of her team to the audience. As we took to the stage to join her we could all feel justifiably proud of our selves and for being part of a truly amazing organisation called The Rapunzel Foundation.

 

18/10/2015 Photographed at the Rapunzel 2nd National Conference 'Alopecia and proud'  in the Brandon House Hotel, New Ross, Co.Wexford today. Edward Hayden celebrity chef & MC and Anna Furlong Rapunzel foundation founder photographed with the staff of Anna Furlongs hair salon New Ross.The conference highlights the people who donate their hair to make Freedom Wigs. Photo; Mary Browne. Rapunzel Foundation Annual Conference Living with Hair Loss Press Release  18th October 2015  The Rapunzel Foundation Annual Conference 2015 took place in the Brandon House Hotel, New Ross on Sunday. The theme of this year’s conference was Alopecia and Proud and the aim was to inform and to inspire confidence in alopecians to be comfortable in all aspects of their lives with or without wearing a wig. Attendance at the conference was high, with younger and older men, women and children coming along to hear people share their stories of their personal alopecia journeys. Celebrity chef Edward Hayden acted as MC for the day and speakers included Clare McGee, Sean O’Riordan, Audrey O’Hara, Nadine McCarthy and Cian Murray. Clare McGee, a courageous and very eloquent almost 15 year old with alopecia told attendees about how much every donation of a ponytail to the Rapunzel Foundation means to her. Deanne and Gary Beattie of Freedom Wigs, New Zealand gave a very interesting presentation on their unique wigs and the difference they have made to people’s lives.   Cian Murray, writer with Joe.ie gave a fascinating insight into his own alopecia journey. Sean O’Riordan gave a powerful and passionate account of his experience of his sister Sinead’s alopecia. Hairdressing icon Eoin Wright gave practical advice to hairdressers on the day at the alopecia workshop and there was a forum for people with alopecia. Founder of the Rapunzel Foundation, Anna Furlong commented – “We are so happy to be able to bring people with alopecia together and if we have helped to make their lives better t

18/10/2015
Photographed at the Rapunzel 2nd National Conference ‘Alopecia and proud’ in the Brandon House Hotel, New Ross, Co.Wexford today. Edward Hayden celebrity chef & MC and Anna Furlong Rapunzel foundation founder photographed with the staff of Anna Furlongs hair salon New Ross.The conference highlights the people who donate their hair to make Freedom Wigs. Photo; Mary Browne.

 

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