Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nothing Like a Girl's "Sweet Sixteen!"

Wow, three weeks since I posted!  So much for my goal of posting in this blog at least once a week.  I was doing pretty well, though, and will get back to it - promise!

Today, I am going to write about my Team in Training friend Nicki's "Sweet Sixteen."  No, she is not a 16 year old girl, but it is 16 years just over a week ago since she survived lymphoma.  She had a 5% chance of survival IF she got a bone marrow transplant, and a 0% chance of living without the transplant.  Someone - a total stranger in a state far away - gave her the miracle of life that February so long ago, and that stranger's and Nicki's lives will never be the same.  And they are strangers no more - Nicki has met the lady who breathed life into her, and they have become friends.  In a way, they are like mother - daughter, and they try to get together each year.

Nicki has made the most of her 16 years of extra life.  She graduated from college.  She's had a career.  She has been the loving "mother" to many pets and made a huge difference in their lives.  She's gotten married.  She has been a friend to many.  She's traveled a bit.  She's been an inspiration.  And she has become a marathoner and half-marathoner many times over, running events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and a few on her own as well.  Here we are almost exactly a year ago before the start of the Shamrock Half Marathon.

Nicki is now training for yet another half marathon, The Nike Women's Half-Marathon, and raising more money to celebrate her "Sweet Sixteen" in style.  Want to make a donation in her honor?  Go here. How about 16 bucks?  Want to do something else to help?  Register with the national bone marrow donation registry.  It is simple and painless.  Maybe someday, this simple action will be part of saving another person's life.  How amazing would that be?  Blood cancer survivors like Nicki and me can never donate blood or marrow to anyone, but if you are healthy, you can.

Six years ago, Nicki's sister had special wrist bands made in the purple, green, and white of Team in Training to celebrate Nicki's 10 year survival mark, her "Decade of Strength."  Nicki gave me three of these and for the last year and some months, I've worn it every day.  Originally, I only wore for special occasions because I wanted the one I had to last, but once she gave me the others, I started wearing one every day.  I still have two left.  When my current one breaks, I'll save the last one for special events.  But last year being my 10th survival year, it was a real honor to wear Nicki's 10 year wristband every day.

In the past three years, I've had three friends and my sister perish from cancer, all well before what should have been their time.  So there is still plenty of work to do to find a true cure.  But amidst the sadness of losing loved ones, it is great to see examples like Nicki, surviving and living strong against odds that were so stacked against her 16 years ago.

So, happy "Sweet Sixteen," Nicki.  There is nothing like a girl's "Sweet Sixteen!"  And there's no one like you!  May you give us many more decades of strength, and of inspiration!


Nicki said...

Thank you SO much, Art, for such a wonderful tribute to my Sweet 16! You are such a great friend, and truly an inspiration to so many as well.

Julie Goodale said...

Great story! thanks for posting about your friend.

Racn4acure said...

Thanks for the comment, Nicki. I think of you often and am glad you are doing so well. Art

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Julie. Nicki is a great gal and a great inspiration! Art