Awareness Month: Continuing to "Grab Life," for Nicky

Last updated: October 2023

It's been a few weeks, and the breast cancer community still feels the gap Nicky left when she took her final breaths.

For those unfamiliar, Nicky, or Nicknacklou on socials, was one of the brightest lights advocating for us "hoomans" living with this disease. She lived in the UK, so I'm sure some folks will not know who I'm talking about, but those who do...know.

Nicky's impact on the breast cancer community

I never met Nicky in real life. I only had brief and fleeting conversations with her online when I would sync up with her time zone. The remarkable thing about Nicky, though, is that you didn't need to know her personally to have loved her with your whole heart.

Sharing about life with stage 4 breast cancer

She showed her followers what living with stage 4 breast cancer was like. Nicky had a heart as big as her spirit, which shined through the screen. She would take us along to the cancer ward, out shopping, and even to events raising funds and awareness for advanced breast cancer in the UK. She smiled through so much darkness and pain and truly lived her motto, "Go grab life."

Another loss in the breast cancer community

One tricky thing about being online with this disease is the loss felt in the breast cancer community. I know I have written about loss and grief many times before, but it's still one of the hardest parts for me.

When Megan passed away, I had never felt such a heartbreak for someone I never knew. I cried for weeks, and I still grieve to this day. It seems impossible to carry on when so many people lose their lives daily.

Cancer isn't fair

It's not fair. This is something I say often. It's not fair that so many bright young people have to decide to end their care; they have to walk the line of living and surviving and carry the weight of this messed up disease on their shoulders at 25, 29, or 32 years old. It's not fair at all.

Pay attention during awareness month

This October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make sure to pay attention. Pay attention to the people demanding fair access to care. Listen to the folks advocating for better bedside manner when it comes to breast cancer and all cancers. Watch us as we live our lives and try to make sense of this world while navigating the horrors of the cancer clinic.

Elevate the voices of patients

This month is not about a pink ribbon or donating to some charity that isn't using its funds to save lives. It also shouldn't be about awareness, as we all know about breast cancer and its effects.

Make sure you know where your money goes when you buy that pink product, and ask questions if you need to. Do your research.

October should be about elevating the voices of patients fighting for their lives. They're fighting for their peers' lives, too, and it's exhausting to be overshadowed by the waves of pink.

Continue to "grab life"

Also, when October rolls around and everything seems to be covered in ribbons, remember to grab life. Take the trip you've been dreaming about for months. Visit your local zoo or botanical garden, and take all the pictures. Hop in the car and take that day trip you've talked about with your family for so long.

Do the things, live your life, and make the memories while you still can. GRAB LIFE for yourself, Nicky, and all of us begging just to live.

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