On February 27, 2019, my friend Nicole was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). TNBC is considered the most aggressive type of breast cancer because it tends to spread quicker and lacks targeted treatment.
At the time, Nicole and her husband Shawn were living in Medicine Hat, Alberta, raising their nonverbal autistic son, Finn. They had just sold their house and were in the process of moving to the Okanagan. The week of Nicole’s biopsy, they bought their dream home in Vernon, BC, and were excited for the future. But when the results came back that it was breast cancer, life was put on hold so she could have surgery (double mastectomy), followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Once treatment wrapped up several months later, Nicole’s scans came back clear, and the Neill family began to make plans for the future.
In January 2020, Nicole began training for the Apple Olympic Triathlon and had her sights set on the Ironman 2021. But at the end of February, she began experiencing pain in her back and leg and thought she slipped a disc. The pain got so bad that she was eventually hospitalized in June. A series of scans delivered the worst news – the cancer had spread to her femur. Nicole was now deemed Stage IV and terminal.
Photo: Nicole and son Finn
After this Stage IV diagnosis, Nicole underwent 5 rounds of radiation to her femur, but the cancer continued to spread throughout her bones. More radiation followed, as well as aggressive chemotherapy, which left her with low platelet and hemoglobin counts, resulting in delayed treatment and two blood transfusions. A more recent scan has revealed that the cancer is now in her liver, so she has switched to a new chemotherapy that is extremely hard on her system. She has been dealing with blood clots and other complications. Shawn has had to leave work to care for Nicole and become 4-year old Finn’s primary caregiver.
The Neill family needs our support! Money raised will help them with prescriptions, travel and other costs, such as making their home wheelchair accessible. The Neills want to focus on creating memories with the time Nicole has left. She has told me she wants to make every minute count and never stop fighting! Thank you for your support, and please continue to keep Nicole, Shawn and Finn in your thoughts and prayers.
- N and P Evanko
- Maria McKay
- Brett Therriault
Organizer and beneficiary
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