Flood of cancer charity funds in memory of Colchester’s Demi Wright ‘overwhelms’ her family

Demi Wright

Demi Wright - Credit: Archant

The family of 22-year-old woman who died of cancer just days after a final diagnosis have been overwhelmed with the level of support for their fundraising in her memory.

Demi Wright

Demi Wright - Credit: Archant

Described as “fun, bubbly and happy-go-lucky”, Demi Wright died from an aggressive form of the disease on February 23.

Doctors initially thought Demi, from Colchester, might have been pregnant when she had pain in November last year as the undiscovered tumour gave out hormones related to pregnancy.

There were fears it was related to a benign liver tumour Demi, a make-up artist with Lancome in the Williams & Griffin department store, had as a child, but tests revealed it was terminal adenocarcinoma which had spread through-out her body.

The final confirmation came just five days before she died.


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Her cousin, fitness instructor Zoe Gilchrist, had already planned to run the Colchester Race for Life this summer but dedicated her fundraising to Demi, a former Alderman Blaxill pupil.

Zoe, 32, launched a JustGiving page on March 3 – and has already raised more than £4,000 in Demi’s memory for Cancer Research UK.

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Zoe said: “Demi was fun, bubbly and happy-go-lucky and had a zest for life. She did a lot in her 22 years and that is testament to the type of person she was.

“She didn’t have time to really accept it, but her reaction was to take a deep breath and tell everyone it was going to be OK. She didn’t cry.

“I want people to know how brave she was.

“It was such a shock to everyone.”

Zoe said donations have flooded in from across the world, including some anonymous pledges of £200, as well as messages of support – smashing her initial targets of £150 and then £2,000.

“If there is a way of raising awareness and funds for research then I want to do it, because Demi didn’t have a chance to,” she added.

“I have done the Race for Life for three years running and helped with stalls, but this year I wanted to do it for Demi.

“I don’t want her to be forgotten, she had such courage and bravery. She is not done yet and has a lot more to say, and if we can channel it and do it for her then we will.

“It is how quickly the donations have come in, and from across the world, which has surprised me. People who have never met her but who have just read her story and seen her picture – which lights up the page – and have got on board.

“That is what’s overwhelming.

“We as a family want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all the support.”

As well as raising funds Zoe is asking other Race for Life runners to join her in tribute by wearing yellow at the event on July 10.

She added: “Yellow was Demi’s colour, and the organisers have said they are looking forward to having a block of yellow in a sea of pink.”

People can sign up by contacting Zoe through her JustGiving page.

Demi’s father Chris, a soldier based at Merville Barracks, is also running the London Marathon in April for the Army Benevolent Fund but will run with a picture of Demi on his t-shirt.

Tributes have flooded in from others who knew Demi.

Sep Smith, a beauty buyer at Williams & Griffin, said: “Demi was a much-loved and well-respected member of our team.

“A pleasure to work with, she was bright and positive with a winning smile – a ray of sunshine.

“Demi will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.”

Nova Hughes, her tutor at Colchester Institute where Demi studied performing arts, added: “Demi was a great actress with a beautiful singing voice and was a pleasant and popular student.

“She was hard-working and had real passion for the arts.

“We are all so terribly sorry to hear this news.”

• To sponsor Zoe visit her JustGiving page.

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