Friends and family of tragic Stoke Newington cancer victim set up wig charity

Nadejah Williams with her mum Michelle Campbell-Cairns before she was ill

Nadejah Williams with her mum Michelle Campbell-Cairns before she was ill - Credit: Archant

The mother and friends of a tragic young cancer victim who died after being denied potentially life-saving treatment are setting up a wig charity to help other sufferers.

Former Shipwrecked star and the face of Teenage Cancer Trust, 23-year-old Nadejah Williams, died in February after a two-and-a-half year battle with a rare form of colon cancer.

During her illness, the fashion stylist struggled to find wigs for black adults and had to order them from abroad or resort to making her own. A few days before she died, she spoke about setting up a charity to help other cancer victims.

Now her mother, Michelle Campbell-Cairns, and 10 of her friends are in the process of setting up a charity called Nadz’s Fight for Survival Wigs, for patients at University College London Hospital in Euston and The Royal Marsden cancer hospital in Chelsea.

Mrs Campbell-Cairns said: “Before she had cancer, Nadejah used to wear hair extensions. After she was bald and had no hair, she could not find any wigs which would suit her or look right.

“She could not find wigs suitable for young black adults. Either the texture was not right or the wigs were not made of real hair.

“She would have to go to a shop to order a wig and it would sometimes take up to two months to arrive.

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“She said to me that she would like to set up a charity so that young black people who have lost their hair to cancer could get wigs as soon as possible rather than waiting six to eight weeks.

“Nadejah was fashion-conscious. Her hair was very important to her. Everyone recognised her because of her colourful hair extensions which were different hues of blue, orange, pink, red and green.

“That was her thing. After being diagnosed with cancer, the first time she cried was when she found out she would lose all of her hair.

“When she could not get a wig quickly enough, she made one herself using hair from abroad, a wig cap and glue. I remember she spent hours one day with her boyfriend making a wig.

“He was holding a dryer and the heat ended up melting her stoma bag.

“Our aim is to provide real hair wigs that young people would want to wear.”

Nadejah was denied life-saving cancer treatment three times by NHS England. By the time it approved CyberKnife therapy – six months after her consultant first requested it – the tumours had grown too big to treat.

n A karaoke wig night to raise the £5,000 needed to set up the charity will be held on May 10 at the Cinnamon Lounge in Newington Green. To donate, visit