A mum-of-two who spends up to £2,000 a year on razors to shave excess facial hair has been left devastated after NHS laser treatment to get rid of the hair ended after one treatment.
Cheryl Howe, 33, of Clarence Street, Morecambe, had undergone one treatment at Leeds Teaching Hospital in January to try to eradicate her facial hair for good.
But six months later, after she hadn’t heard anything about a further appointment from the hospital, she called and was told she was no longer on the waiting list as her treatment was ‘cosmetic.’
She said: “They did a test area on the back of my neck to see if it reacted to the laser and it hasn’t grown back.
“They said they would give me a ring within six months but I didn’t hear anything so I rang them and was told I am no longer on the list.
“I’ve been waiting nine years for this treatment, and now I have to go back to my GP, to be referred back to dermatology in three or four months time and then go on the list again.
I just want to feel normal and now I’m heartbrokenCheryl Howe
“Where is the cut off point for vanity and what I’m going through?
“I just want to feel normal and now I’m heartbroken.
“I need to raise £4k to pay for the treatment myself now, which I shouldn’t have to do.
“If I have to wait another nine years I could be a grandma by then, I want this done while I’m still young.
“It’s been a bit of a kick in the teeth.”
Cheryl, a parts advisor for a car firm, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) aged 12.
She said: “I was bullied and beaten up at school. I used to get called Gorilla and Cheesy Cheryl.”
She has to shave her face, breasts, stomach and legs to get rid of the excessive hair.
She said: “My hair growth has cost me jobs, relationships - it even ruined my first few years with my daughter. I couldn’t be a mum or a wife, because I just didn’t feel like a woman.”
She has also been targeted by trolls on the internet. Cheryl said: “I had messages pushed through my door and I became too afraid even to go out. My self-esteem was very low.
“But I got lots of support too. People from all over the world apologised for what was said to me.
“Even Conchita Wurst sent me a message saying ‘I really apologise, you shouldn’t be penalised.”
Cheryl has constantly campaigned for treatment for women whose lives are blighted by the condition.
She said: “This isn’t cosmetic. I have a disfigurement. It’s horrendous I’ve had to wait so long for it.”
Cheryl has set up a funding page at http://gogetfunding.com/please-mother-of-2-who-has-suffered-bulling-because-she-grows-a-beard-get-fund-to-get-the-laser-hair-removal-treatment-she-needs-badly/.
She is also planning a sponsored walk and bike ride to raise funds for her treatment.
A spokesman for NHS Lancashire North CCG said: “NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group makes decisions about the funding of medicines and other interventions on a population basis for the majority of treatments.
“The CCG has a limited amount of money to spend, and has a public duty to spend this appropriately across the range of health care needs.
“In all cases the decision made by the panel is based on the clinical effectiveness of the procedure for a particular patient and not on financial grounds.”