July, 2002 | Jan Harley

In the months to come, Nicole soldiered on with determination and courage.  I don’t believe she ever questioned she wouldn’t make it through this, or that she wouldn’t be able to do anything for that matter.  A 10 year old spirit is an amazing thing.  Each day brought new challenges of which Nicole was eager to master.  She excelled in school while she was able to attend and had a tutor when she was undergoing chemotherapy. She finished her 5th grade year with straight A’s. Amazing indeed. Nicole’s 5th grade teacher, Deb, all of her classmates and school staff contributed greatly to Nicole’s healing and desire to learn and keep up with everyone.  Their encouragement and love lifted her up to new heights.

Our closest friends, Bob, Cara, Catie and Tyler were by her side in constant rotation; lifting her up and spending time with her in the hospital and at home. The nurses and doctors at Mayo Clinic were phenomenal.  They encouraged and praised Nicole every step of the way during her recovery and last chemotherapy treatments.

Nicole became an ambassador of love and passed it around in the Mayo Clinic children’s cancer wing by wheeling around talking to patients and staff. Her beautiful smile and wise spirit melted so many hearts.  

Nicole’s last chemotherapy session finished up mid-July. Over the course of several months, she was fitted with a prosthesis. She spent many weeks in physical therapy to learn how to walk correctly, progressing from her wheelchair, to crutches, to her cane. In the months to come, the cane was quickly set aside. With her determination, she had mastered walking again. I could see this would be a lifelong journey for Nicole, learning to be active again and returning to the sports she once enjoyed.

To this day, I am moved by how quickly Nicole grew up in those few months undergoing this experience. Being part of Nicole’s life during these times was an incredible gift for me. If you ever want to feel motivated, just watch a child hopping around the house on one foot or scooting on the floor to get something.

I am truly grateful Nicole is cured from bone cancer and has moved forward in her life.  She has risen above adversity and has walked the distance to the mountaintop where she holds steadfast and true.

Nicole will always be my bold and brave hero!