Melville man inspired to walk Kokoda Track by wife’s alopecia experience

Melville man inspired to walk Kokoda Track by wife’s alopecia experience

MELVILLE father Andy Lavender will walk the Kokoda Track in recognition of his wife’s challenging experience with alopecia.

“No one’s ever done something like that for me,” Amanda Lavender said.

Amanda’s hair loss began three years ago after the birth of her first child, during a very stressful period.

“It’s an autoimmune disease that for me was either brought on by stress or was pregnancy related,” she said.

“It took a long time to convince the doctors that it was more than just hormonal loss after having a baby.”

There is no cure, and treatments have not worked for Amanda. As a result it has affected her mental health.

“It’s tough, a lot of people think it’s just cosmetic,” she said. “It’s my identity and self-esteem; it’s there every time I look in the mirror.”

Amanda finds it hard to look at photos before the alopecia universalis began, and avoids being in front of the camera.

Mrs Lavender manages a support group for the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation and said her husband now had a cause to tie in with his long-held desire to walk the Kokoda Track.

“I know it’s not going to be easy for him but I’m really proud,” she said.

Andy will embark on the 10-day expedition this month with engineer and Nedlands resident Greg O’Rourke whose son Cam has alopecia. They will meet Victoria’s Tracey Turco, who was diagnosed with alopecia nine years ago.

To support the trio, visit http://kokoda17aaafcharity|

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