Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy "15th Birthday," Nicki!

When one gets the awful and terribly sad news like I got yesterday about Faith, it is sometimes hard to remember the success stories. So here is an incredible one for today.

My friend Nicki had her "15th birthday" today. Nicki graduated from Mary Washington University about 12 or 13 years ago, and got married last year. Now, I am sure all that has you scratching your head - child prodigy, perhaps? - so let me explain.

Nicki was a healthy college sophomore when she learned she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Although chemotherapy was expected to put her into remission, it didn't, and a bone marrow transplant was her only hope. And that was a slim hope - Nicki's chance of living, even with a bone marrow transplant, was just five out of 100! Well, she beat those odds. On February 27, 1997, Nicki, exhausted, sick, and weak beyond measure from bone marrow preparation treatment, received her life-saving transplant from a total stranger. What an incredible legacy and gift! Fifteen years later, Nicki is healthy and strong, and is a marathoner and half-marathoner many times over. Can you tell I am really proud of her?

On March 18, Nicki will be running the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach with Team in Training, once again giving back so that others can someday have the same good fortune that she did. I'll be in that race too, if my sore knees hold out. I'll probably somewhere behind Nicki, though!

It is weird to think that had Nicki not had cancer or had I not had cancer, our paths likely would not have crossed. But she did, and I did, and they did. Speaking for myself, my life is the richer for it.

So, Nicki, happy 15th! May you have many, many more anniversaries of this date in a long, happy, and healthy life. You have inspired me more often than you can know!

Here is Nicki running in Saturday's TNT Silent Mile, and here is Nicki and me after running the Silent Mile together.


Nicki said...

Thank you SO much, Art. That is such a nice post.

I had a great day of celebrating 15 years, and I look forward to doing the Shamrock together.

I am glad our paths crossed as well, though not for the reason they crossed. We have been chosen to do something better and I think we are working on that each day by raising money and awareness to find a cure.

You are a great friend!

Bruce said...

Art....What a beautiful piece of writing. We are all blessed to continue to have both you and Nicki in our world. Keep up the good fight and continue to spread the word.
Good luck in the Shamrock!
Bruce Patton ( Nicki's Dad)

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Nicki! 15 is a great milestone. I plan on hitting that one myself in five more years! You are always an inspiration and a great friend. See you at Shamrock if not before!

Thanks for the comment, Bruce. I am very happy to still be on God's green earth, believe me, and so glad that Nicki is here too. I am sure you are very proud of Nicki and all that she does. I know that I am. Thanks for the well wishes.