To reality TV fans she is known as the cheerleader with an outrageous sense of humour, but former Bachelor contestant Nikki Ferris showed a different side at Westmead Hospital on Friday.
The 24-year-old student runs the charity Sharon’s Wish in memory of her mother, who died of lung cancer in 2017.
Nikki’s aim is to donate a therapeutic pillow to cancer patients around the state – starting with every lung cancer patient at Westmead Hospital’s Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre.
“One of these pillows would’ve really made a difference to mum but they were too expensive, so I want to make sure nobody else has to miss out due to financial difficulties,” Nikki said.
“I wanted my first donations to be to Westmead because the staff here are so amazing. I love this hospital for the difference they made in mum’s life and now I want to give back.”
The first pillow recipient was Elizabeth Hodgetts, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in May 2018.
“It was a huge shock. I had no symptoms at all besides a pain in my side. I’ve lived a healthy lifestyle and only taken 13 days sick leave in 30 years of working,” Elizabeth said.
“You just have to accept it but I’m not going to let it beat me. I’ve got other things I want to do. If you think I’m a quitter I’ve got news for you, I’m not giving up easy.”
She thanked Nikki for the generous donation in memory of Sharon, who had the same type of cancer as Elizabeth and was treated by the same oncologist, Dr Adnan Nagrial.
“Your mother would be very proud of the young lady you are today,” Elizabeth said.
Nikki said it was hard to balance work, studying and running a charity, but it was worth it to make a difference.
“I’m so emotional but it’s really a pleasure to meet such a beautiful lady,” she said.