If this was just the warm up…

29 gold medals, 17 silver and 19 bronze!  What an incredible tally!  And what a testament to the determination and resilience of everyone who aspires to Olympic glory!  The sort of resilience and determination needed by many people living a disfigurement when they face the slings and arrows of others’ unkind reactions to their appearance, or when they are just trying to carry on…

One such is gold medal winning Olympian is Joanna Rowsell, who has lived with alopecia since childhood.   In her interview with BBC News she said: “I wasn’t really confident on going out and doing the usual teenage things. I didn’t have much confidence in my appearance and I became very, very focused on my studies. But when cycling came along that was another thing for me to focus on and suddenly it didn’t matter what I looked like, it was about how I performed on the bike and that’s what I was judged on. That was great.”  You can read the full interview here.

And maybe what we have learned from these past two unbelievably inspiring weeks, is that most of us can triumph in our own way – whether that’s rewarded with a medal or not!…

Bring on the Paralympics.

Remember, if you live with alopecia and are finding it difficult to cope, you can speak to a Changing Faces Practitioner about building your confidence – 0300 0120 275.


Humility in the Olympian foothills…

Last Saturday morning, I travelled across London with hundreds of others to the Olympic Park but, unlike them, I stepped off the main pilgrim’s trail to enter into a small BBC studio. There I met Sian Williams and the Rev Richard Coles and their other studio guest, Gerald Seymour, and we then broadcast Saturday Live on Radio 4.

There have been so many delightful messages since and I am trying to respond to them all.

The whole thing, from the moment of arrival in the studio, has been so humbling – and I think that is my overall feeling about the Olympics as a keen but very far from Olympic sportsman and as an observer of the human race.

At the end of the programme, we were (rather suddenly) asked what we hoped would be sustained after the Games and I said that, as a charity director in today’s very difficult economic climate (yes, that’s the other reality), that “the collective altruism” so evident would live long… One friend has written to say she liked that term but I rather liked her extension of it: “mutual enjoyment, genuine cheer and intended helpfulness”.

Long may it last!

Here’s the link to the show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ld15x and click here for the proof.