A UNIVERSITY of Queensland student has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and has decided to chop off her ponytail and shave her head to raise awareness and money for research into the condition.
Jennifer Stables is a third-year UQ School of Biomedical Sciences’ student and she was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder in October 2013 after being diagnosed in 2011 with fibromyalgia, a syndrome that causes muscle pain.
She said there were dozens of diseases that fell into the auto-immune category and her symptoms included painful joints, constant fatigue and skin lesions.
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“One of the medications is causing me to slowly lose my hair, so I’ve decided to donate my ponytail to make wigs for people who have lost their hair and then get people to sponsor me to shave off the rest,” Ms Stables said.
“So far I have raised more than $1000 and I hope to reach at least $2000 by Christmas.
“Everyone has been so generous – there’s even a donation war going on between people who like nice, round, even numbers, and those who prefer odd numbers.”
“Having this disease has certainly taught me to look for life’s silver linings and to adjust my expectations of myself,” she said.
“I have always been very driven and now I am even more so – I want to prove that I can do it all anyway, even though I have to accept that sometimes I can’t.”
Stables has said that she will be wearing her new bare look with pride.