Elsie Blackwell lives with her Mum, Dad and three siblings in Amesbury and her Dad serves in the Royal Air Force at MOD Boscombe Down. She has been named ‘Little Trooper of the Month’ for showing resilience and determination after losing her hair to Alopecia.
During Covid, the family were living in Lincolnshire when Elsie noticed she was starting to lose her hair and she was diagnosed with Alopecia. She had just started school and her parents were concerned that her confidence might be knocked by her hair loss, but Elsie continued to be very outgoing and settled in well.
After several months, her hair began to grow back, but this was temporary. The family moved to Amesbury in 2022, Elsie started a new school and joined the 1st Boscombe Down Beaver Colony and her hair loss started again and became worse over time, with larger patches appearing.
In December last year, Elsie decided she wanted to shave her hair off and her Dad, Tom, supported her and shaved his hair off too. The pair raised more than £2,000 for the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs to children and young people.
Elsie was nominated for Little Trooper of the Month by her Beaver leader, Janet Griffiths. Janet said, “The day after Elsie shaved her head, she attended Beavers with a smile on her face and a hat on her head. The Beavers were interested in her hat, but Elsie did not make a fuss and fielded all their questions. At the end of the evening, she removed her hat allowing everyone to see her new look. As leader’s we were acutely aware that this could have a huge impact on a young girl and understood how brave her decision was.
“In the new year we spoke to Elsie and asked her if she would like to speak to the other beavers and answer questions. Elsie agreed and when the time came, she took charge of the situation and explained the condition in detail and answered all the questions asked by the Beavers and the leaders. She is an amazing young lady who is an example of bravery and confidence in the face of adversity.”
Elsie’s Dad, Tom, comments: “Elsie has always been a very confident and outgoing girl and she has not let Alopecia change that. She has embraced her difference and has given talks in class about it. We are so proud of her. She makes friends wherever she goes and always finds the positive in all her experiences.”
Louise Fetigan, founder of Little Troopers, adds: “Moving home and starting a new school as a military child is a challenge in itself, but for Elsie to do all that while still coming to terms with her Alopecia and then to be so confident and shine so brightly, is truly wonderful. We think you are amazing Elsie and we hope your Little Troopers medal helps you to realise just how brilliant you are.”
Elsie will now receive a special medal from Little Troopers, along with a £50 gift voucher and certificate.