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Jeana’s Girls: a powerhouse team in raising funds for Pictou County's Relay for Life

Nina Davey, leader of Jeana’s Girls.
Nina Davey, leader of Jeana’s Girls. - Sam Macdonald

Nina Davey is proud of Pictou County – a community that continually provides support for her and the rest of her teammates’ efforts to raise awareness about cancer.
Nina leads Jeana’s Girls, a team that annually participates in the Pictou County Relay for Life. In 2016, Nina decided to form a team to honour the memory of her friend, Jeana English.

Cancer has hit close to home more than once for Nina. Part of her inspiration to form her own team came after her mother formed a team on behalf of her father, after his diagnosis and battle with cancer. It was a combination of that and her desire to honour Jeana.

“Jeana was my best friend since I was four years old,” said Nina. Jeana passed away as a result of a brain tumor, in late 2015.

“We’re really excited for this year; we hope to spread more awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society, and inspire more teams to participate,” said Nina. “We do a lot every year, but our most unique fundraiser is the pink toilet.”
The pink toilet – the best-known fundraiser of Jean’s Girls – makes appearances in yards around Pictou County. The only way to remove the pink toilet from your yard, if it ends up there, is to pay a donation – “a toilet tax” – to Jeana’s Girls to have them put it somewhere else.

“There are rumours there is a toilet fundraiser going on in Truro,” said Nina. “We are the only pink toilet in Pictou County, though.”
When asked if she thought her own team inspired the Truro-toilet fundraiser, Nina gave a shrug and a grin, and said “maybe.”

This tongue-in-cheek fundraiser has been a big reason Jeana’s Girls are a powerhouse in the realm of fundraising for the Relay for Life. Jeana’s Girls also have been known to hold successful barbecues, amassing significant fundraising.

Nina attributes a lot of the success of her Relay team to the fact that Jeana was a well-loved member of the community, known for her virtuosic Highland dancing and athleticism. Nina said the amount Jeana’s Girls is able to raise seems to be growing every year.
“The first year, we were not able to raise as much, but once people became aware of what we were doing, we were able to raise more,” said Nina. “Last year was amazing. People from across Nova Scotia and Canada were donating. Pictou County was proud of Jeana’s Girls, because they were such a big thing from Pictou County.”

Nina said it makes her happy to know that Jeana’s Girls are able to raise as much support as they are, every year. She and the rest of her team are looking forward to the Relay on June 2.
“We’re going to honour Jeana’s fight against cancer. Her father walks the track during the relay, too,” said Nina. “For me, it’s a way to keep Jeana’s memory alive – she was amazing and important to us all. It’s great to see so many people participate for such a great cause.”

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