News / Calgary

A shave for a brave friend

Nearly two years after the death of a former classmate, a Grade 5 student is making a sacrifice to ensure her friend's memory lives on.

Sawyer Versluys, 10, said she doesn't remember a time when her friend Nicolle Zaslavsky wasn't smiling.

In the summer of 2010, Nicolle died of brain cancer at the age of 8. She had been battling the disease since 2007.

“I've always been thinking about Nicolle,” Sawyer said. “I thought that I could be helping people that are like her.”

On April 16 ' Sawyer's 11th birthday ' she will shave her long tresses in memory of Nicolle.

Nicolle's father, Greg Zaslavsky, said he and his wife were touched when they found out about Sawyer's plans.

“I obviously feel proud of Sawyer,” he said.

Zaslavsky said even after multiple surgeries and, ultimately, the removal of half her brain, his young daughter continued to fight. Even after death, he's amazed that Nicolle continues to be an inspiration.

“I was really proud of Nicolle that she's impacting people after her passing,” he said. “My thought was, had (Sawyer) never met Nicolle, would she be doing this? Is she going to be a better person for the rest of her life because she met Nicolle?”

Sawyer said Nicolle's courage is what she remembers most.

“She was just really brave with what she was going through,” she said, adding she'll be thinking of her friend as her locks are sheared off.

More on