Grove teen getting by with a little help from his friends

Nick Coady, top row, third from left, with buddies who shaved their heads in solidarity with the 16-year-old Bright’s Grove resident. From left are, back row, Connor Morrison, Jhay Turner, Coady, Justin Hyde, Noah Wise, Ryan Nutt, Sam Coakes. On couch: Ethan Kilbreath, Jordan Hyde, Sean Fraser. Front: Tobe Adewusi and Ethan Hyde. Submitted Photo

Tara Jeffrey

When twin brothers Justin and Jordan Hyde learned their best friend had been diagnosed with cancer, the next move was a no-brainer.

“Shaving our heads wasn’t even a question — it was a given,” said 16-year-old Jordan, who has known Nick Coady since the third Grade, growing up three doors down in Bright’s Grove. “We are just too close to Nick to let him go through something like this alone.”

Coady, 16, began the first of four chemotherapy cycles in London earlier this month. The St. Patrick’s High School student was diagnosed with Diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, after discovering a small lump on the inside of his thigh.

Exhausted and nauseated, Coady has been forced to take a leave from St. Pat’s and begin a home-schooling program.

“I go to Victoria hospital for a week for treatment, then come home for a resting period,” said Coady. “Then, if my blood counts are where they should be, I can go back for my next cycle.”

Turning to his buddies for support, Coady first told Justin Hyde about the diagnosis.

“I told him I was going to shave my head,” said Hyde. “And then I told my brother, and our friend Jhay Turner, and they said they would too.”

But it didn’t stop there. About a dozen young men, friends and classmates of Coady’s, banded together and a head-shaving pact was quickly established.

The teens gathered at the Hyde household in Bright’s Grove, opened a haircut kit, and went to work. Even 10-year-old Ethan Hyde got in on the action.

“I didn’t think they’d actually do it, because it’s a pretty big commitment,” said Coady, noting a few of the guys had been sporting some reputably long locks.

But the entire group followed through — shaving their own heads, and then each taking a turn to take a ceremonial strip off of Coady’s.

They celebrated with a dinner at Skeeter Barlow’s.

“We’re just trying to be supportive,” said Justin Hyde. “Nick is pretty cool about it all — he doesn’t really let it affect him.”

But at the end of the day, Hyde admits, “It really sucks.”

The group has launched a fundraising effort to support Coady and his family.

“Having this group of awesome guys makes me beyond grateful,” said Coady. “I’ve known most of them since we were just little, and I know they would do anything for me.

“I’m so lucky to have them help me through this journey.”