Luton teenage burns survivor Shamiam Arif couldn’t stop smiling last week, writes Bev Creagh.
She had the time of her life at Raoul wigwakers showroom in Paddington, in preparation for the day when she can ditch her helmet and don a real hair wig that will match her own in colour and texture.
“I’m so happy,” she said as Raoul’s owner, Liz Finan, expertly twirled and twiddled the hair, showing the delighted Challney High schoolgirl how many different styles she could have with just the flick of a comb.
Shamiam has had to wear a protective helmet since she was badly injured as a baby when a candle fell into her cot in Kashmir. Her skull was burned down to the lining of her brain and she also lost both hands in the inferno. But her plucky can-do attitude has impressed everyone she meets.
Great Ormond Street clinical specialist orthotist Lisa Mitchell is making a unique polyproplene plate that will slip into a pocket in the wig, giving invisible protection.
Liz, whose clients include women and children who’ve lost their hair because of cancer treatment, said Shamiam’s wig would have a really soft bamboo lining so as not to irritate her sensitive skin.
Raoul’s creative manager Carmen Berbel – a London School of Fashion graduate – will make it.
The front will be knotted on to fine lace to make a natural hairline. and there will be slats at the back for Shamiam’s own hair, which grows at the back of her head, to be weaved through.
Shamiam has The Little Princess Trust to thank for this exciting new development. The charity has already helped more than 3,500 young people who have lost their hair through difficult and tragic circumstances.
Spokeswoman Wendy Tarplee-Morris said she thought Shamiam looked wonderful in the wig and added: “ “I can’t tell you how happy I am to have been able to play a part in this. It’s a privilege to be involved with helping such a brave young girl”.