Help at hand for hair loss

A  woman’s hair is often described as her ‘crowning glory’ and so the loss of hair through chemotherapy or alopecia can be very traumatic, but Athlone woman Ursula Hanley is offering a stylish and comfortable alternative to wigs. ‘I was inspired by my sister Sheelagh’s battle with cancer, and her subsequent hair loss, I began designing and making headwear, as a comfortable alternative to wearing a wig, for people prone to hair loss through chemotherapy or alopecia. ‘I had taken an early redundancy package from my long term job, and as my children were away in college, I had time on my hands, so I was able to spend it with my sister. During her chemotherapy she found her wig uncomfortable to wear indoors and her children found it distressing seeing a ‘bald Mother’! We discovered that getting suitable and stylish headwear was not easy, so we bought square scarves and bandanas which she found were loose and insecure, and required constant fixing. ‘Sewing had always been my hobby. So I proposed making headwear for her. Her priorities were security, style, total head coverage, and comfort in that order. With that in mind I experimented with different fabrics and fastenings in bright colours and designs. Subsequently I designed turbans, which I made from soft stretch. I accessorised them with co-ordinating long scarves, plaits and flowers. In bed at night Sheelagh complained her head was cold, so I made her a night cap from soft stretch material in a plain design for comfort while sleeping.’ ‘Samantha in ‘Sex and the city’ was an inspiration to me. When she lost her hair through chemotherapy she showed us that there is absolutely no need to lose one’s sense of style. Samantha did not allow this affect her social life, we saw her wine and dine in the best of style with beautiful wigs and headwear. Life goes on for those going through chemotherapy, and during periods of remission, the person needs to get out and about. Thankfully, Ursula’s sister Sheelagh made a full recovery and Ursula has continued designing and making headwear from her home at Beech Park in Athlone. She takes personal callers and mail orders, but prefers the personal touch. However, she does acknowledge that if people are not well, it can be difficult to travel. To contact Ursula, call (086) 3899026.