Woman Who Inspires: I Am A Real Survivor

By Christopher Bokum

After beating cancer, JoAn Niceley continues to fight for patients through her Pink Heart Funds charity.

Cancer patients need hope, inspiration and encouragement as they face emotional and physical tribulations. 

It takes determination to get through the diagnosis, treatment, recovery and side effects of cancer, such as hair loss.

JoAn Niceley of Long Beach, Mississippi, has not only survived breast cancer, but now she assists women with cancer and other hair-loss illnesses find comfortable, natural-looking wigs.

“I fought the battle for three years,” Niceley said. “Thirty-seven treatments, 11 surgeries and 21 hospitalizations in a period of three years. I am a true survivor!

“I have been a hair salon owner for 38 years of my hairstyling career. I am a breast cancer survivor of 17 years.”

Fourteen years ago, Niceley started the non-profit, Pink Heart Funds, out of her hair studio in Long Beach to acquire free wigs for children battling cancer and extreme hair-loss disorders.

She not only helps children impacted by cancer find a sense of normalcy, but she also provides free wigs and breast prostheses to women with breast cancer.

The non-profit is for patients with no insurance and those who are under insured.

“It was one of my hair salon clients, Lynne Morrison, that got cancer and her dying wish to me was to help women receive affordable wigs,” Niceley said. “She was charged $500 for a $65 wig! Unacceptable. So, I followed through on my friends wish and then some.”

Niceley experienced more heartache 11 years ago.

“I also had a small child, Tanea Ladner, that was turned down from a well-known place that is supposed to give free wigs to children for free, four times,” she said. “I knew then I had to help children receive free wigs.

“Tanea did receive my first beautiful, human hair children’s wig before she passed away. Praise God. Her dream of a wig came true. She battled cancer 11 years of her 13 years of life.”

Local Rosé Boutique owner, Christina Viers of Mandeville, has recently joined forces with the Pink Heart Funds, committing 10 percent of her salon’s proceeds to the nonprofit.

Niceley will be a guest VIP at Rosé Boutique on Oct. 10 where you can meet her and learn more about her story and non-profit.

“I am so excited to have Rosé Boutique as a friend,” said Niceley.

The Pink Heart Funds will be holding their 13th Annual Walk of Hope on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Harper McCaughan Town Green in Long Beach. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. with a 5K run/walk beginning at 8:00 a.m. and a 1 mile beginning at 8:15 a.m.

To donate or learn more about the Pink Heart Funds, visit www.pinkheartfunds.org.

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