Cancer Hair Loss Expert & The founder of Cancer Hair Care Jasmin Julia Gupta in her own words
Jasmin (centre) with Cat Deeley and 5 inspiring women who have all lost their hair during cancer treatment. At the UK wide launch of the charity in 2012.
Why start a charity?
When a 43 year old woman looks you in the eye and says “I feel terribly guilty because I have cancer and I’m more worried about losing my hair then having treatment” you suddenly realise that the information you can give her is potentially life changing advice. But I’m not a doctor, nurse or health worker. I am a hairdresser who has become an expert in cancer related hair care because I realised that there was no organisation offering this essential missing service. Cancer Hair Care is the only UK charity solely dedicated to offering guidance before, during and after hair loss due to cancer treatment. Unlike many other cancer charities who have many subjects to cover, we concentrate on all aspects of hair loss right through to new hair growth into recovery. We also run the UK’s only secondary cancer hair loss support group.
My work with people with cancer has taken me all over the UK. In the bedrooms of women whilst they sob as their hair is shaved off, round the kitchen table with the husband who is finding it hard to support his wife, in the hospital unit as the new scalp cooling machines are put in, at the bottom of the stairs explaining to kids why mummy’s hair will fall out, in the children’s cancer unit helping a teenager who has more new hair growth on her face then her head, at the Teenage Cancer Trust “Find Your Sense Of Tumor” conference supporting over 250 teenagers, at our weekly hospital clinic, at Breast Cancer Care London head office writing their hair loss service training manual and training their team… and now, along with my fantastic team, it’s a privilege to be here with YOU.
I have always been passionate about helping people with illness and hair loss as I feel it is an area surrounded by much confusion and can be such a traumatic experience. I have seen time after time what a devastating effect the thought of possible hair loss can have on someone who has cancer.
The endless thinking…will I lose my hair…will it all come out in one go… will my doctor think I’m just being vain if I tell them how upset I feel about losing my hair…I don’t want to wear a wig but what choice do I have…will my hair grow back...I feel pathetic but hair loss is one of the things I’m most worried about...
The endless amount of unanswered questions, hearsay and worry can swamp a woman’s thoughts even before she has noticed any change in her hair. But I have also seen the empowerment and relief on someone’s face when I have explained potential changes in their hair and hair loss fully, offering options, advice and suggestions with care and sensitivity.
I always say there is NOTHING vain in caring about how you look. EVERYONE cares about how they present themselves. Most people who say they don’t normally mean that they don’t follow fashion trends. I know this because no one turns up to work in his or her PJ'S!
I have been in the hairdressing industry for over 23 years and have worked my way up the ladder from sweeping the floors as a trainee to being the Hairdressing Director for one of the world’s most cutting edge brands, Trevor Sorbie International. There I was responsible for developing and directing “My New Look” a wig customising cancer organisation that was the first of its kind in the professional hairdressing industry aiming to educate hairdressers to cut wigs for cancer patients. I was also responsible for salons, staff, products and hair care globally. I am fortunate to have had a very glamorous career right at the very top of the hair fashion industry and have worked with celebrities, been on TV, makeovers, catwalk shows, magazines and fashion shoots. I have travelled the world teaching and directing shows for up to 6000 hairdressers at a time and I’ve even negotiated with Buckingham palace and trained the Queen’s hairdresser on the very latest products for Her Majesty. To top it all I was hairdresser to Mr Trevor Sorbie himself. Who cut the celebrity hairdressers hair? I did!. I’ve always been a skilled and caring hairdresser but I have never had the ambition to be the celebrity hairdresser myself.
Now I feel that my voice is a guardian over all of the incredible experiences that every man, woman and child has gracefully shared with me. I can tell you that without any shadow of doubt there is nothing that is as satisfying, challenging or heart-warming as when you see the look on someone’s face when they try on their wig for the first time and are happy with it or cutting that first hair style of new hair regrowth into a funky pixie cut on someone who thought short hair would never be for them.
I am so happy to support a very different type of VIP. My Very Important Patients. To share the knowledge, that I am so fortunate to have gained, means that I can give something back to the customers and hair industry that I love so much. I really care about every woman’s experience of hair loss and hope that my charity Cancer Hair Care is one small way of helping women through illness and into recovery.
My team many of who have lost their hair during treatment and are now trained in hair loss advice, and I are here to support you. Please get in touch. No question is too small to ask or to big that we can’t work through it and help you.Together Let’s make hair loss one less worry.
With love and respect
Jasmin Julia Gupta Founder, Trustee and Hair loss Expert
Cancer Hair Care
Registered charity Caring Hair 1145258