Stevenage pupils organise fundraiser after teacher’s alopecia diagnosis
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
A Stevenage teacher with alopecia said he feels amazed by his young pupils, who began raising money for charity when they learned he had the illness.
Christopher Richmond – who teaches a Year 4 class at Martins Wood Primary School– went through the ordeal of losing his hair earlier this year.
He told the Comet: “My hair had started to fall out around December. I had quite thick, dark hair so it wasn’t noticeable until about February.
“After it became apparent that my hair was going to fall out completely, I spoke to the headteacher and he agreed that I needed to tell the class and the parents exactly what the situation was to prevent any worries that it might be something more serious.
“I sat them down on a Friday afternoon just before they went home and explained to them what alopecia is and that I had it.
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“From the moment I told them, they became extremely sensitive and compassionate. “One of the best things about working with kids is their honesty and their deep consideration for other people’s feelings. There was a bit of sadness from some of them, but they all instantly began to express how I was still their same teacher, and that they wouldn’t see me any differently.
“Some of them even said that they weren’t sad that my hair was going to fall out, but that they were sad that I was going to feel sad. Their sensibleness and maturity when discussing the matter was really admirable.”
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The following Monday, students in Christopher’s class had told him that they had already started planning a cake sale to raise money for Alopecia UK and had made posters to advertise the event.
Christopher said: “The situation was not only a test of their emotional maturity, but also their organisational skills. They prospered with both challenges,” he added.
“I think what amazed me the most was the huge sense of social responsibility kids feel. I feel privileged as teacher to be able to work with these children everyday.
“At a trying time in my life, the kids helped make the situation much more positive. I will definitely always remember this class.”
The cake sale raised £300 for Alopecia UK, which is enough to fund a local alopecia support group for a year.
A support group leader also went to the school in Mildmay Road to hold an assembly about the work the charity does.
For more information go to www.alopecia.org.uk.