Vicki Nicholas, Home Support Worker for 14 years at Northwood Homecare

Cancer runs in her family. She’s lost many loved ones to the disease but despite her losses, Vicki Nicholas is determined to make a difference.

Vicki gets her inspiration for change from two special women in her life. Her sister Katie was diagnosed with cancer, went into remission and ended up having her miracle baby after her treatments were over. Her best friend Karen was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December and has recently recovered from surgery with a good prognosis.

Wanting to show her support, Vicki looked for a way to help. “I first tried Locks of Love but I couldn’t stand letting my hair grow the length it needed to be,” said Vicki. “That’s when I found Shave for the Brave and knew it would be the perfect fit.” She collected pledges and on April 6, 2013, got up on stage at the Halifax Shopping Centre to be the first participant to have her head shaved. “I was more nervous and worried about people watching me than I was about losing my hair.”

Although Karen wasn’t able to attend the event, she was very touched and cried the first time she saw Vicki. “I told her I was happy to do this for her and that it’s just hair, it’ll grow back.” Vicki’s husband Bruce and their children Jacob and Alyssa surprised her by coming to cheer her on. “They were so proud of me and my husband gave me the biggest hug afterwards.”

Vicki was conscious of the effect her newly shaved head might have on her clients and took the time to prepare them for the change. “Some clients couldn’t understand why I was doing it,” said Vicki. “But others were deeply touched.” Going through the experience gave her a new perspective of what it would be like to really lose your hair to cancer. “In general, most people were compassionate and some even asked if I was going through treatment.”

Living by the philosophy of setting your mind to do something, Vicki never thought her actions were a big deal. But she’s inspired her daughter and her friends to donate their ponytails to Locks of Love, as well as her husband to participate in Movember later this year. “I’m a firm believer that everyone has inner strength.”

Vicki’s already planning for next year’s event. She hopes to put together a team of family members, friends and co-workers to collect pledges and/or shave their heads.