Hats For Hope is going NATIONAL!

Don’t know if I am shaking because of this morning’s coffee or excitement…

On October 21 2017, the successful ‘Hats For Hope’ is going to be at the Brain Tumour National Conference!!

An overwhelming excitement is surrounding me as phone calls/text and emails pour in as I make connections with some local lovelies about this exciting opportunity.

Are you familiar with the background story of how Hats For Hope was created? The inspiration of creating this successful drive is in the name; ‘Hats For Hope’.

Hats For Hope Success at Princess Margaret Hospital 2016! Write up: Snapd Markham


Now is the gut-wrenching stressful/anxious/excited feelings. Now, organizing alllllllll the details are underway; surely the WHY answer is obvious, now to nail down the ‘how’ and ‘where.’

Goal: To acquire a couple hundred handmade knitted/crocheted hats made & donated in time for the National Brain Tumour Conference, happening in Toronto October 21, 2017.

Here we go!

Stay tuned – details to follow….


The Video

This short video is a true story about my experience of having surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2011, and my road to recovery.
After writing my first book called “Day By Day” (released March 2014), I was thrilled to meet the band Doug & The Slugs, as their song “Day By Day” was an inspiration during my recuperation.
Thank you for watching

A Very Special Dedication

After learning in the late afternoon of Feb 7th 2014 that Doug & The Slugs http://www.dougandtheslugs.ca were going to dedicate their song “Day By Day” to me in their show the next night, I decided to spontaneously fly out the next morning to experience it live. My Mom (Pam Burgess) and I flew from Toronto to Calgary and attended the show in Calgary Alberta, at the Deerfoot Casino.

The dedication was delivered with a perfect mix of light humor and heartfelt mention. Simon started to talk about how he met “a young woman over the internet”, which got the audiences’ imagination running wild, as giggles and cat calls were let out by audience members. Then he clarified that contacting him was to share my story and the importance of their song “Day By Day” to me. He elaborated by saying I had faced quite the adversity and releasing a book about it very soon with the same name of the song. He finished with,

“This is gong out to Melissa and Pam, who flew here from Toronto to be here tonight”.

Not only were we invited to hang out with the band after the show, I also had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Simon 1:1 for a couple of hours the next day.

A big thank you to Simon Kendall and all other Doug & The Slugs band members Ted Okos, Wally Watson, John Burton, Rick Baker and Steve Bosley, as they were incredibly kind and welcoming.


Ontario Long Term Care Association Article!


Melissa Nichols with Simon Kendal
Melissa Nichols with             Simon Kendall

Melissa Nichols was 28 and working as Vermont Square’s quality co-ordinator in October 2011 when she received news that would change her life.

Diagnosed with a brain tumour, Nichols says the 10 years she spent up to that point working with long-term care residents had given her a unique perspective on life. Following surgery, Nichols went through a recovery process that she says paralleled what many long-term care residents experience. She even had to learn to walk again.

Nichols, who has worked in long-term care since she was a high-school student, is preparing to publish a book chronicling her experiences as a caregiver who has been on both ends of the health-care spectrum.

“The book is about how I have worked in long-term care, my journey to recovery and just how ironic it was that I was so familiar with health care and then (acquired an illness),” Nichols tells the Morning Report.

“I experienced things that I’ve seen patients experience for years.”

Nichols adds that while her experiences provided her with a new perspective, her diagnosis never changed her outlook on why she chose a career in long-term care.

“I’ve always had a passion for working with and working for seniors,” she says.

The book’s title, Day By Day, comes from a 1984 song of the same name by Canadian rock band Doug and the Slugs. The title is perfect for her memoire, she says. It describes Nichols’ approach to her recovery — taking things one day at a time — and it’s also one of her mother’s favourite songs.

The book’s title even has endorsement of one of the band’s members, keyboardist Simon Kendall, who helped her get the permission needed to reprint the song’s lyrics. In fact, Kendall even agreed to write the foreword to Nichols’ book, which is slated to be on sale through herwebsite in March.

On Feb. 8, Nichols and her mother flew to Calgary to attend a Doug and the Slugs concert. Before the group performed Day By Day, the members dedicated the song to Nichols. After the show, she and her mother were invited to meet the group.

Nichols has received lots of support from friends and family during her recovery and also from the company that manages Vermont Square, Responsive Health Management.

You can learn more about Nichols by visiting her website or Facebook page.“(They have been) incredibly supportive up to this day,” she says. “Specifically, the senior management and administrator have been a big part in my recovery. They are like family to me. Never did I expect such friendship and support from people I worked with. It truly is a great company to work with and for.”


Writer: Deron Hamel
Original Article: http://www.oltca.com/ltc-caregivers-upcoming-book-chronicles-parallels-between-her-work-and-illness

Photo caption: Melissa Nichols poses with Doug and the Slugs keyboardist Simon Kendall after the band’s Feb. 8 performance in Calgary.

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