Nicole’s story first started in April 2020, after noticing a bulging vein in her right breast. Previous to this discovery, Nicole’s mammogram results showed no abnormalities at her annual check-up in January. The appearance of the vein prompted Nicole to go back to the doctors to double-check. Little did she know at the time that by May, she would be diagnosed with breast cancer and start her first-round of chemotherapy shortly after.
During her diagnosis, Nicole was also dealing with a recent divorce and facing the uncertainty and hardships of COVID-19. Nicole’s doctor had examined her and immediately told her it was cancer, and at that moment, Nicole felt that her whole world had stopped.
But positivity and perseverance are two qualities that radiate through Ms. Nicole Patel like no other. With the help and support of her family and friends, Nicole lives her life with a positive outlook. Nicole continued to work through this challenging time and only took off the days she was receiving treatment.
Nicole had previously dealt with the loss of her sister, and unfortunately, was faced with the reality that tomorrow is never promised. Nicole’s struggles have changed her outlook on life and taught her not to be bothered by the little things.
Nicole continued to apply this mentality to her cancer journey, sharing that, “At the beginning, hair loss was very hard, but I realized that in the long run, I had chosen to ‘have hair or die.’ Recovery from my surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation were also very hard, and I struggled to feel normal, but I reminded myself that one day I would feel normal again.”
While Nicole was in treatment, her social worker, Natalie Conboy, introduced her to Bringing Hope Home and the Light of Hope Family Grant Program. At the time, Nicole was struggling to pay rent independently and any financial assistance was a relief.
“Bringing Hope Home was a lifesaver. I was able to get more sleep at night, not having to worry about money. Knowing that someone is out there that cares to help me meant the world to me.”
Nicole’s journey relies on positivity and support to get her through and she wants to share with HOPE Nation to never give up the fight.
“It may feel like a nightmare now, but the nightmare goes away. Keep moving forward because there are going to be brighter days. Always remember the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Today, Nicole remains super active. She has taken up golfing and looks forward to being able to kickbox again. She also looks forward to the day she can continue traveling and wants to plan a girls trip with her friends.
Nicole’s experience receiving the Light of Hope Grant has inspired her to get more involved with Bringing Hope Home and HOPE Nation. She hopes to attend and volunteer at Bringing Hope Home events in the future.
Interview and article by BHH intern Jessica Rossbauer