Brave Lowestoft girl beats the bullies

A BRAVE Lowestoft girl has called on other youngsters to speak out about bullying and not remain silent, after she lost clumps of her hair in suffering stress-related alopecia.

A BRAVE Lowestoft girl has called on other youngsters to speak out about bullying and not remain silent, after she lost clumps of her hair in suffering stress-related alopecia.

Battling back to beat the bullies who had subjected her to a torturous two-year cruelty campaign, courageous Sophie Nixon talked about the ordeal she endured at the hands of her tormentors this week.

Speaking out about her alopecia to encourage other young people to seek help if they are being bullied, the plucky 12-year-old called on all youngsters that have a problem to 'speak up,' as she wishes she had shared her troubles earlier.

And her message to other sufferers was simple 'Don't do what I done. I just kept it all inside as I didn't want to tell anyone,' she admitted.

Sophie's hair started falling out two years ago and she soon lost her eyebrows and eyelashes through all the stress associated with the alopecia.

The condition was triggered by the stress of bullying at her school and the yobs even made jibes about her dying of cancer after her hair started to fall out.

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It was only when her parents took her to see a doctor that she admitted to being teased at school and she was diagnosed with the condition, which makes the immune system attack hair follicles

Her mother Helen Nixon recalled how Sophie had said 'I'm sorry mummy, I couldn't tell you' during the traumatic time.

'I felt absolutely helpless and felt like I had failed her,' Mrs Nixon said. She woke up crying one night with clumps of hair on her pillow and we took her to the doctors, but it was too late to stop the hair loss. Within a few weeks it had all gone.

As well as causing hair loss, Sophie's alopecia affected her immune system and she was only able to go to Roman Hill Middle School for half days because she was constantly tired. Now Sophie spends two days a week at the Harbour Pupil Referral Unit in Lowestoft, where staff are helping her prepare to join the Denes High School in September.

Mrs Nixon, of Avondale Road, said: 'Once we told the school she was being bullied, they were great and did everything they could to help and make sure things changed. They've been very supportive.'

The youngster has also been attending classes at the Kuk Sool Won club at Water Lane sports centre to 'boost her self-esteem' and confidence. And while her hair starts to grow back in patches, Sophie often wears hats and wigs to hide her baldness.

Admitting it had been 'tough' for everyone, Sophie continues to be backed by her family, her supportive school and the love of Lowestoft Town Football Club.

The avid Trawler Girl has now been given a replica club shirt from the Crown Meadow club and she also received an early 13th birthday present as Lowestoft chairman Gary Keyzor confirmed yesterday that she will be their mascot at the last home game of the season.

'I really think the football club is what has kept her going. They've been so friendly and she loves going to their games, we owe them a huge thanks for everything,' said Mrs Nixon.

Yesterday, joint Blues boss Micky Chapman described Sophie as a 'special little girl' who will receive a special day as mascot at Lowestoft in forthcoming weeks.

'Sophie has had to put with so much with all the bullying, bless her,' said Mr Chapman. 'We have no time for bullies and they are not welcome here - so as Sophie is a Lowestoft Town supporter we will make sure she has a special, fantastic day on and off the pitch with the players, staff and management when she is mascot.'