A teenage Pictou girl has been recognized by the province for her volunteer work.
Fifteen-year-old Nina Davey is the recipient of the Province of Nova Scotia’s Youth Volunteer Award for 2018.
A Grade 10 student of Pictou Academy, Davey is a volunteer with the Relay for Life, Jeana’s Girls, the Children’s Wish, the Canadian Cancer Society, Pictou United Church, Me to We, IWK committee, Northumberland Fisheries Museum, McCulloch House Museum and Genealogy Centre and the Pictou Visitor Information Centre. She also figure skates and volunteers as Canskate Coach as well as participating in various school-based committees.
“Life is a special occasion, so I don’t save anything for tomorrow – it’s important to do what I can now. Life is unpredictable and has no guarantees. I learned that on Oct. 9, 2015, when my best friend died from a brain tumour,” Davey said.
“Just because she was a child and ‘resilient’ did not make her survive. Cancer wasn’t something new to me when Jeana got sick. My dad was diagnosed with spinal tumours when I was five years old and I don’t remember what life was like before that. Appointments, surgeries, stress, celebrating milestones and life in general has somehow revolved around disease. When we lost Jeana, it hurt a lot and people were concerned how her death was going to change me as I was becoming a teenager. It made me lose hope and wonder about my own purpose.”
Davey started the volunteer group Jeana’s Girls after the loss of her best friend to cancer. In 2017, Davey was recognized as the top individual fundraiser for the Pictou County Relay for Life as well as her team, Jeana’s Girls, which raised close to $27,000 last June. The team raised a total of close to $42,000 for the relay.
“Through volunteering I was able to take the focus off my own problems and realize how important it is to have a healthy, happy life,” she said.
Davey and Jeana’s Girls have also raised almost $20,000 for the Pictou County Chapter of the Children’s Wish.
“Volunteering with the Cancer Society and Children’s Wish is very special to me. I associate these two causes with Jeana and that makes it personal for me. Being able to help out is a way that I can comfort and support people that need it. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference. If we all work together, regardless of age, it can all add up to a big change,” said Davey.
She said none of the fundraisers she took part in would have been helpful without her friends close to her side.
“I couldn’t have done it without all the other members of Jeana’s Girls, whether they were Jeana’s friends or friends of mine who wanted to help,” Davey said. “I am so grateful for those girls.”
The volunteer awards will take place April 7 at the Westin Hotel in Halifax. The awards ceremony is followed by a luncheon.