Nina Davey captured the attention of the students at Redcliff Middle School when she told them about losing her best friend to cancer.
Nina, a 15-year-old Pictou Academy student, was in Valley to speak to children on We Day this week, a day focused on making positive change in the world.
“Jeana was smart and active and quiet, but funny,” she told the children. “She was a perfectionist. She was competitive and the smartest kid in class. She loved to wear matching outfits, play board games and spend time with her family and friends.”
She talked about their close friendship, Jeana being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and saying good-bye to her friend at the Isaac Walton Killam hospital.
Jeana English died on Oct. 9, 2015, but Nina kept her memory alive through several activities. She formed Jeana’s Girls and took part in fundraising activities to help fight cancer and make life better for those living with cancer. Because of her efforts, she received the Province of Nova Scotia’s Youth Volunteer Award for 2018.
One of the organizations she supports is the Children’s Wish Foundation, which granted Jeana’s wish to go to Disney World in 2014.
Cancer wasn’t new to Nina when her friend was diagnosed; she had already seen her father struggle with it. She was five when he was diagnosed with spinal tumours, and she often saw him using a walker or wheelchair.
“I watched him lose weight, go on life support and come home laughing,” she said.
Her family was recently able to celebrate her father’s 10th anniversary since being diagnosed.
Jeana will always remain a part of Nina’s life.
“She inspires us to do more and to be better,” she said. “We want the world to know her name and we want to be part of the generation that made a difference because of her.”