Nick’s Story

Who was Nicholas Adam Kenneth Nicholls?

Nick was a son, a brother, a grandchild, a nephew, a cousin, an uncle, a father and a big-hearted human being from the moment he was born. This little bundle of energy was able to wrap you around his little finger with one toothless grin or sheepish smile. But, Nick faced some heavy demons. He was plagued by self-hate, doubt and as confident as he seemed he lacked a belief in himself.

Nick ultimately turned to drugs and alcohol as he grew older we can only assume to battle the internal demons he struggled with.

But, while he was an addict, ‘addict’ was not his identity. He remained a hard working individual with a huge heart. This was evident when he was sober and clean. It was evident in his ability to pick up jobs, to be the goofy silly man with his now 4-year-old daughter, and in his willingness to do things for others and check in on others. Ask anyone who knew or worked with Nick and they will tell you he was a loving individual.

Nick’s family tried to provide him with help. They never turned their backs on him. But, they did take a tough line with him. It is a stance they have regretted often over the last two months.

Early on the morning of December 4, 2021, Nick asked his elderly grandmother to drop him off at the safe bed program in order to get help detoxing and hopefully to get clean once and for all. His family knew this wasn’t his first attempt but they hoped this might be the last attempt at getting clean and that better days would be ahead. They had no idea this would indeed be Nicholas’ final attempt and certainly not in the way his family and friends expected.

That morning after being dropped off Nick was informed there was no bed at which point it is believed he walked to get his methadone at a downtown clinic. It was there life would change in the most horrible way. Nick ran into two people at the clinic who decided it was their right to end his life with a single stab wound through the left ventricle of his huge caring heart. Heroic measures were taken to save Nick. His aunt watched the police action from her store and soon to be Nick’s Place For Us without knowing it was her nephew. In fact they would not know until that evening.

Nick spent a week in ICU in Sudbury. Because of COVID only two family members could be with him at a time. His aunt, mother and sister alternated so he was never alone. The thought he had been alone on a city sidewalk was already too much to bear and they were determined to be sure he was never alone again. While initially they hoped for a positive outcome it soon became apparent Nicholas Adam Kenneth Nicholls would not survive his injuries and his family made the decision to remove life support and donate his organs It was a last selfless act. The family found out later he had signed a donor card years before and it was truly his final wish.

On December 11, 2021 at 1:59PM the doctors removed life support Nicholas took his last breath as he slipped away. His mother and his aunt were by his side.

In a true loving and huge hearted way Nicholas’ family decided to donate his organs in order to help others in a way no one else could.

Nicholas was someone who gave all he could when he could. The stories emerging about him after his death have brought his family solace. But they have also questioned. They have questioned what he would have done with his life if he had been given the opportunity to live. If his life hadn’t been stolen by two people who now face second degree murder charges what would have been the outcome that day? Would he have finally dealt with his demons?

Nick’s Place For Us is being built to ensure no other youth ever feels they have no where to turn. It is being created as a lasting legacy to a life cut short by a violent act. It is being created to ensure Nick’s huge heart goes on and on in the lives of the people who received his kidneys and in the lives of the youth who step through our doors.

“There needs to be no more lost children, no more lonely children, no more confused and scared children, there needs to be laughter, help and support for all.”

Karrie Emms, Nick’s Aunt