Hundreds of mourners turn our for tragic Stoke Newington cancer girl's funeral
PUBLISHED: 15:21 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:21 28 February 2014
A brave young cancer victim, who died after being denied potentially life-saving treatment, was paid a final heart-rending farewell by more than 300 devastated family and friends yesterday.
Former Shipwrecked star and the face of Teenage Cancer Trust Nadejah Williams, 23, was laid to rest in her mother’s wedding dress – which she had wanted to get married in herself but never got the chance – following a service at Stoke Newington Seventh Day Adventist Church in Yoakley Road, Stoke Newington.
The fashion stylist had asked guests to wear white at the funeral, which she had planned before her death on February 22 following a two-and-a-half year battle with a rare form of colon cancer
Miss Williams 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.
Weeping friends paid tribute at the service to her warm, bubbly and cheeky personality and described how she would take people under her wing.
Friend Monique Lewis said: “I had no self-confidence until I met Nadejah. She was the first person to tell me I was beautiful.”
Miss Williams’ boyfriend Ganiyu Sokunei recalled how she would want to hear about his problems even though she was sick. “I just wish I could get one more text from her”, he said.
Daniel Hochhauser, a professor in medical oncology at University College London Hospital (UCLH), paid tribute to Nadejah, saying: “She had a wonderful warm personality and was one of those patients who are unforgettable.”
Dr Rowan Hearn, who helps run outpatient clinics at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre, said: “She was a fighter. I feel that her strength and her willpower helped her with the obstacles and hurdles put in front of her. Anytime there was bad news, and there was lot of bad news, she would carry on. She was always someone moving forward.”
Her grieving mother, Michelle Campbell-Cairns, who delivered an eulogy to her only child, said: “Many of you will think I’m mad for standing up here but I couldn’t let today go without paying tribute to Nadejah.
“I didn’t write a speech but she was my daughter and I have 23 years worth of material.
“During her first six months, she liked being held close and throughout her life she loved hugs and kisses.
“She never wanted to look like a cancer victim. She always turned up for chemotherapy with these long eyelashes.”
Her mother, who is a nurse at UCLH thanked medical staff for the way the care they provided as well as the Hackney Gazette for first covering Miss William’s story.
Her body was transferred to East Finchley crematorium were there was a short service before her boyfriend and two friends set three white doves free.