Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Bullock.
Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In July 2016, I was preparing to leave town for a family vacation when my health took a drastic turn. I developed symptoms of fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss, and night sweats. The symptoms progressed with me constantly feeling as though something was stuck in my throat. Within weeks, I was having difficulty breathing. I was misdiagnosed twice with acid reflux disease until CT scans of my neck and chest revealed a large mass.
On September 30, 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Mediastinal Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. At the time, I didn’t know much about the disease or anyone who had it. Following my diagnosis, I endured months of aggressive inpatient chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. While receiving treatment, I was inspired to give back after receiving a care package from volunteers. God placed a calling on my life to use my diagnosis to help others and bring awareness to Lymphoma. It was on my hospital bed that The Nicole Cares Foundation was born.
The Nicole Cares Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization devoted to people with lymphoma. We exist to raise awareness of the disease, raise funds for a cure, and provide assistance during treatment and into survivorship. We provide support to anyone affected by cancer!
Today, I’m cancer free and using my life to help others in the fight.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating! My thoughts immediately turned to my family, particularly my husband and three children. My treatment required me to have eight rounds of chemotherapy which was administered inpatient at Northwestern Hospital for five straight days/24 hours a day nonstop until I was discharged. I spent over fifty days in the hospital away from my family as I fought for my life. After chemotherapy, a tiny nodule remained so I also received seventeen rounds of radiation.
Survivorship is not easy. Cancer has touched every area of my life, but my faith in God sustains me. As a survivor, some of my challenges have been getting used to the new “normal” and not worrying about what the future may hold. Each day is a gift and I’m focused on LIVING! Through my foundation, I plan to help others get through the aftermath by hosting quarterly support groups.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Nicole Cares Foundation – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the Founder and President of The Nicole Cares Foundation, which is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization specializing in helping people affected by lymphoma. We are known for our Hope to Hospitals program where we visit people receiving inpatient care, deliver care packages and offer prayer. We also hold fundraisers to provide financial assistance to patients during and after treatment, as well as donating funds to groundbreaking research.
I’m most proud of my foundation’s work in the community to bring awareness to lymphoma, as well as helping others face what I know first-hand to be a terrifying experience. Our care packages include items I found helpful during my treatment: a warm blanket, hat, water bottle, hand sanitizer, lip balm, journal, crossword puzzle, pen and socks. I get so much joy from meeting patients and giving them hope. If God healed my body he can do the same for them.
The Nicole Cares Foundation is one of the few organizations in the Chicagoland area committed to raising awareness about lymphoma. Since there’s currently no screening test for lymphoma, we stress the importance of self-care and being your own advocate. No one knows your body better than you. We’re also striving to make the lime color ribbon synonymous for lymphoma as the pink ribbon is for breast cancer.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Four years ago, it was completing my MBA while caring for my young family and working a full-time job. Today, I’d have to add the creation of The Nicole Cares Foundation as another proud accomplishment. I’m still amazed at how God turned my cancer journey into something positive to help others. The Nicole Cares Foundation is my life’s work and legacy.
- Address: 18125 Roy St., #411
Lansing, IL 60438
- Website: www.nicolecares.org
- Phone: 877-795-6466
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @nicolecaresfoundation
- Facebook: @NicoleCaresFoundation
- Twitter: @Nicolecares930