Team Nicole, #NS

$61,021 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 816 people in 8 months
Created February 25, 2018

Our cousin, Nicole Salzano, suffered a stroke on Thursday 2/22/18, just hours after competing in Day 2 prelims of the Northeast Conference Swimming Championships. Nicole amazingly dropped 19 seconds off her 500 Free event and jumped from 18th place into 3rd going into finals.

If you don't know her, Nicole is 22 years old, healthy and smart. She is a senior set to graduate from Bryant University with a business degree after this semester, an athlete at the top of her game, and a 2 year co-captain of her college swim team. She is certainly not the type of person you would ever expect something like this to happen to.

Nicole is still in the ICU, and is expected to be in the hospital another 4 weeks before a transfer to rehab facility is even an option. She has had her family and friends at her bedside around the clock, cheering on her miraculous gains and supporting her through unfortunate setbacks. This tragic event has rattled our family, however we remain firmly optimistic in her recovery.

Nicole has a long road ahead of her, but she is a fighter. She is strong and is already showing her doctors, friends, and family just how determined she is.

Her parents, Jim and AnnMarie, as well as her sister, Nina have suddenly had to put their lives on hold. In this time of pain, hurt, and confusion, medical bills should be of the least concern. We are starting this GoFundMe page in an effort to ease the enormous financial burden from her parents' shoulders.

We will try and keep this page updated with the most recent information, as possible.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Any little bit helps!

Nicole's cousins
- Jamie, Glenn, Lauren, Taylor, AJ, Amy, Kevin, Brendan, Samantha, Danielle, Matthew, Alyssa

Nicole Salzano
Nicole Strong
Never Stop
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Updates on Nicole 7-5-18

Hi Everyone, I know it’s been a while since my last update. We are all adjusting well to now being home and into our new routine. Nicole does outpatient therapy at Kessler 3x a week and does aqua therapy once a week, that’s her favorite day of all her therapy! We just hired someone to do Occupational Therapy called constraint induced therapy on her 2x a week. It’s a more aggressive type of therapy that’s only offered in a few states but we were lucky to find someone that actually trained at the clinic in Alabama and she has started working with Nicole a few days ago. She’ll introduce it slowly, due to Nicole not having much movement in her right arm and fingers. Once she gets more movement then the therapist can constraint Nicole’s left side. This therapy is to retrain the brain to use her right side. Overall, Nicole is doing great, her spirits are good and she’s very positive. Everyone that meets her at Kessler always say that she inspires them to work harder. Her presence there is definitely noticed, especially with the older gentleman, lol. Nicole also suffers from something called Aphasia. She has difficulty finding her words. Aphasia is another effect from the stroke. Her cognition is spot on- she understands and remembers everything but has difficulty getting her words out sometimes. Nicole was so inspired by her speech therapist at Kessler that she is considering going back to school to become a speech pathologist and help others that also have aphasia. I know whatever Nicole puts her mind to, she will do it. She has handled this setback which such grace and dignity, we are all so proud of her. Keep the prayers coming and we love you all for the support you have shown us. 
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Nicole update 4-2-18

Hello all, we hope everyone had a nice Easter. Nicole is doing phenomenal at Kessler. She is getting movement in the right leg, and the start of movement in her right arm. She is working hard at therapy. The PT has her walking up and down stairs with assistance . In OT she is connected to a machine called RTI, it has her rotating her arms in a bicycle motion with stimulation. The RTI has a screen in front of her showing how fast she is going and miles. She beats her score every time. That’s her competitiveness in her. Nicole is scheduled for her cranioplasty in about 2 weeks. We are going back to Long Island for the surgery. She will be in the hospital for approximately a week, then back to Kessler for more therapy. All the doctors have told us that once her skull is put back into place the physical improvements will be even greater. We are looking very forward to that. Nicole can’t wait till she no longer needs to wear her helmet too. She has become very popular amongst the other patients. They all know her as “the swimmer”. Jimmy and Aunt Linda went to a support group meeting and once they knew that they were Nicole’s family, they all said how much they enjoy watching her work hard and that she always has a big smile on her face. We continue to ask for all your prayers. Nicole is a determined and strong woman and will definitely overcome this obstacle with grace and dignity. She also wants to thank everyone for respecting her wishes regarding visitors. She tires quickly and wants to preserve her strength for working hard in “the gym” at Kessler. We love all of you and God Bless.

Jim and Ann Marie
Celebrating Easter at Kessler
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Update 3-12

From our Aunt Linda:
It has been a while since I last updated, though some of you may have gotten parts of this from other people. When last I wrote, Nicole had been wowing us with her progress at North Shore Univ Hospital. On Wednesday, the powers that be decided that she no longer needed to be in the hospital, that it was time for rehab. (yes, during that nor'easter) So she was transported to Kessler in Saddle Brook, about five minutes from home, which is perfect. There she has been receiving hours of PT, OT, and speech therapy each day. After acing another swallow survey, Nic, was given a half a cookie and is now enjoying most of her favorite foods, (with some restrictions), including anelletti & meatball, homemade by her Gram Pia.
The therapists have gotten Nicole "standing" w/walker/cane. It is exciting and encouraging to see her upright. Our girl is working soo hard. Therapy is exhausting, so she naps a LOT. Nicole struggles with getting words out but she is singing up a storm. We learned that the stroke was on the left side of the brain where language is controlled. But the singing is a right side of brain function. When I left her last she was singing One Direction songs with the biggest smile on her face!! Nicole is coming to terms w/ her situation. Its been a little sad/frustrating for her but she's strong and determined. And John's Spring Break visit is the best medicine right now!!
And to those who were able to make Mass, we thank you. It was great for Annmarie & Jim to connect w/ other family members and friends and to be out of the hospital for a bit. (after 15 days, I'm sure they were ready to see more than just our mugs, hah!!) I heard from Jimmy that Father Joe went to visit and bless our girl at Kessler. He said, "Father Joe was funny, he said to John 'had I known you were a Red Sox fan, I would have worn my Yankee cap!!" LOL
Nic is still not ready to widen her circle of visitors yet. But cards and letters are always welcome! The address is Nicole Salzano c/o Kessler Institute 300 Market Street Saddle Brook, NJ 07663 Room #304
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Update 3/9

We are thrilled to report that Nicole was transferred to the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in Saddle Brook, NJ. She is making incredible progress everyday. Thank you so much for your continued thoughts and prayers. #nicolestrong
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$61,021 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 816 people in 8 months
Created February 25, 2018
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Peter Larkin
5 months ago
Robb Tyrol
5 months ago
Bryant Swimming & Diving
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Chris Roethlein
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7 months ago
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