Wednesday 22 November 2017

This inspiring cancer patient takes selfies with strangers to tackle the taboo of being a bald woman

By Zaina Alibhai

Ruth Davies, 50, has posed with friends and strangers for the heartwarming series.

A inspiring cancer patient has created a collection of selfies with her fellow bald buddies, in the hopes of normalising the sight of a bald woman.

Ruth Davies discovered she had HER2+ breast cancer two weeks before her 50th birthday in December and, although she’s a self-confessed “positive person”, she admits the diagnosis came as a major blow.

As she underwent rounds of chemotherapy, she began wearing wigs and other head coverings – often finding them itchy and uncomfortable – and soon started to feel there was an underlying sense of unease when it came to women with cancer.

“There seemed to be an air of shame and secrecy around many of the female cancer patients I have come across, almost as though it’s somehow their fault.

“I hate that people seem to look away and/or make you feel invisible when you wear your head scarves or hats.

Ruth, originally from Manchester though now living near Munich, soon decided to embrace her bald head and try to tackle the taboo of being a bald woman.

She said: “Men are at such an advantage when this happens to them, there is no stigma to them being bald so I wanted to make being a bald woman a little more acceptable and a bit of fun.”

And so Bald Buddies was born which saw Ruth approaching friends, familiar faces and complete strangers for a selfie, asking: “We have the same hairstyle and I am making an album of bald buddies, would you pose with me?”.

The “buddies” include two of Ruth’s friends, a DPD delivery man, a builder, a BBC Philharmonic trombone player and a complete stranger she mustered the courage to approach at the airport.

While the Bald Buddies collection is still a work in progress it was shared online by Ruth’s son, and received mountains of well-wishes and praise.

Ruth said: “It has been really encouraging that something I did to make myself smile has actually inspired a couple of people and made them smile too.”

Ruth is now just over half way through her chemotherapy, after which she will begin six weeks of radiotherapy in June. She’s also to undergo a year of herceptin treatment and, despite the rigorous treatment, she is positive she’s receiving the best care.

She added: “My amazing husband, supportive friends and family, deep faith and sense of humour are getting me through!

“And meeting lots of amazing, strong people fighting the cancer battle on my way.”

Press Association

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