My name is Nicole, and I am a 21-year-old cancer survivor. Last year, on February 1, I started chemotherapy after being misdiagnosed for TWO years! For those two years, I was told that the softball-sized lymph nodes in my neck were all because of allergies. I knew something was wrong when it became the size it did and had a vein going around it. I went to Astera Cancer Center in East Brunswick, New Jersey, for my six months of chemo. Even though I only went there to get chemicals pumped into me, I loved everyone around me. They didn’t just treat me as a number, instead they treated me like a real person making sure I was okay. I was told I was cancer-free just two months into chemo! I was also told this amazing news three days before my 21st birthday. Before I knew it, August 1 came, and that was my last day of chemo. Now it’s been one year being cancer-free and chemo-free!
Last year after finishing my treatment, I found out about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Of course, I wanted to be involved with it to try to give back as much as I could. I attended my first Light The Night (LTN) that October and fell in love with how LLS ran things. I remember watching the Honored Hero speak, and I thought to myself, “Hope one day that can be me.” Well, let me tell you, the power social media has is crazy! All because I posted a picture from the event last year, made my name known, and I got to be the 2023 Honored Hero of Long Branch, New Jersey! I never felt so proud of myself before! I knew since day one of my cancer journey, I was meant to go through this for a reason, and I believe that reason is to be involved with LLS and hopefully, one day do what LLS does for people now.