Local mom talks beating breast cancer
Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Eric was worried at first that Nickole might be upset with him for nominating her because she does not like to be in the limelight.
“She is the woman that is always putting others needs first and cheering on others to be in the limelight,” he says. “And with the way she handles everything she has to deal with I just felt she deserved it.”
Nickole’s story is one of endless recognition for the blessings she has received from her diagnosis, her determination to maintain her role as mom, wife and business owner and the positivity she shared no matter the challenge. This challenge just happened to be called cancer. But it was no match for Nickole.
Two years ago, Nickole, was working for The Indianapolis Star and her life was focused on her husband and children. Eric, a career law enforcement officer, had a dream to one day own a business or open a restaurant but loved his work with the Fishers Police Department. Still, they were constantly looking at business opportunities until one day a neighbor brought donuts over from the Jack’s Donuts in Fishers. It was love at first bite.
Shortly after meeting with the CEO in June of 2013, they became a franchise owner for Jack’s Donuts. Nickole quit her job in February and by May 2014 they opened their first Jack’s Donuts in Carmel.
On February 29, 2015, they were in the process of opening their second Jack’s Donuts, when Nickole’s world turned upside down and they had to break the deal with their broker. Her children were sick, she had just had a biopsy and the results were due the following day. When the diagnosis came back as positive for breast cancer on March 1, she knew that there was no way she could have devoted her time to her businesses while trying to go through cancer treatment.
Nickole made a decision that she was going to beat her cancer. And along the way she inspired everyone’s spirits with her positive attitude, her unfailing commitment to her children’s lives and staying focused on the business of living with cancer.
No matter how she felt, she showed up big, and she involved her children along the way. When she knew it was time to shave her head, he son Evan got the honor of taking his mom’s hair off and it wasn’t scary but a life lesson she shared with him about how to meet life’s challenges on your terms, head on. Both Eric and Evan shaved their heads in support.
As draining as the treatments were, Nickole was determined to not miss any of her duties or commitments.
“I never wanted my children to look back on this time and say, ‘Mom missed that, or Mom slept through this or that.’ I just wanted them to say, “Mom fought! Mom won!’ she says.
So when her son started soccer, she signed her daughter up too but no one stepped up to coach. So, she said, “Let’s roll and see what happens.”
She coached six little girls, taught them the game of soccer and explained why she did not have hair. She also continued running her business, taking care of her family, running their home and taking her children to all their activities.
When her close friend gave her a book called, Cocktails and Chemo, this gave her the inspiration to organize a party before her surgery. Her doctors thought she was nuts. But 30 minutes before her surgery was to take place, she walked into a room with 100 of her closest friends and family right there at the hospital. Everyone in attendance came in wearing “Stronger Than Cancer” t-shirts with #TeamPatton on the back.
“I was so nervous about my surgery until the party and then after I felt like I could have skipped into the operating room,” Nickole says.
“It sounds so strange to say this, but I am grateful that cancer made me slow down and appreciate my friends and family,” she adds.