A young girl from Nova Scotia found the perfect way to honour the life of her Newfoundland grandfather.
Victor Keeping of Victoria, Conception Bay North, died earlier this year at the age of 76.
Granddaughter Victoria Cook (her mom Melissa was Victor's daughter) lives in Nova Scotia near Port Hawkesbury, but knew her poppy well through visits back to Newfoundland and Labrador with her family, along with trips Victor would make off the island.
"He was a very humourous kind of person," Victoria said when asked to describe her grandfather. "He'd joke around and fool around. One time when it was my birthday – we'd celebrated our birthdays together – so I was crying happy tears because I was so happy to get my gifts, and he started mocking me in a funny kind of way. He'd go 'Boo, hoo, hoo' when he'd open his gifts...He was awesome and very fun."
The loss of her grandfather wasn't easy on Victoria, but knowing, too, how kind he was and of his unwavering willingness to do anything for just about anyone, she wanted to find a way to appropriately honour his memory.
She did just that last month with a special event in Carbonear billed as Color4Cancer. The event, held Aug. 17 at Michelle's Fine Art and Ocean View Art Gallery, attracted lot of supporters young and old and raised $1,020 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The whole concept germinated during Victoria's last visit to her grandfather in March. He was bald at the time, so she had a little bit of fun with her poppy by painting on his head. She did the same to Victor's best friend, Open Door Ministries pastor Jesse Bown.
Victoria subsequently thought about holding a fundraiser where people could get their heads shaved and painted. From this came the idea for Color4Cancer.
Victoria is quick to credit Michelle Penney-Rowe from Michelle's Fine Art and Ocean View Art Gallery for offering a venue and helping her get everything ready. Bown, Victoria's mom and Andrew Peacock also pitched in to help.
The money was raised from rock, face and head painting, special 'Cancer Sucks' suckers, a photo corner and Canadian Cancer Society bottles of water that were sold at the event.
"It was amazing," Victoria said. "I felt like everyone cared to come out and support and donate."
Prior to that day, Victoria had hair falling below her shoulders. She initially intended to get an undercut, but once the cutting began, she decided to go all the way with a shaved head. Her hair was still pretty short when she dropped by the Canadian Cancer Society's St. John's office to present the money she raised before returning home to Nova Scotia.
"I'm thanking everyone who helped us," she said.