Meet Nicole


“Throughout my journey, I have learned that if cancer doesn’t take a break, neither will I.”

More Stories

“Throughout my journey, I have learned that if cancer doesn’t take a break, neither will I.”

Advocate and believer in the power of hope and purpose


Gems of Triumph

Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate against color or gender, nor the scars it leaves behind. Scars are what I call gems, hidden deep within the beauty of a woman. If you look deeply into my eyes, they carry untold stories of triumph that cut straight to the soul. My gems are my hidden secrets; scars buried beneath the surface, rarely seen by the naked eye, and masked behind a smile holding intricate details from the pains of cancer.

Journey to Diagnosis

It all began at the age of 46; I was expecting my annual Valentine’s Day mammogram. A few months before my appointment, I was experiencing on and off breast tenderness and soreness. I just figured I was getting older and my body was changing. After my mammogram, my doctor referred me to an oncologist to get testing done. My oncologist called to share my results. I was diagnosed with stage II invasive mammary carcinoma, or “breast cancer,” as we know it. I recall how I dismissed and ignored all the warning signs my body was trying to tell me before the diagnosis. After being diagnosed, I was immediately thrown into the unknown world of cancer. This brought with it unexpected life shifts, dealing with emotions of fear and uncertainty.

Facing the Unknown

My new life involved scans, biopsies, surgery, chemotherapy, and then radiation treatment. I knew nothing about cancer treatment and chemotherapy. To my knowledge, no one in my family had ever battled cancer before me. With all the horror stories swirling around chemo and the debilitating side effects, I was most concerned about losing my hair. Losing your hair can be such a traumatic experience, especially for a woman whose identity is tied to her hair. But I had a tribe of supporters, family, and friends who shaved their heads to show support. It was a beautiful gesture that I will always cherish.

My then simple life was quickly and abruptly put on hold as I grappled with the big “C.” Like many who receive the news of a cancer diagnosis; I thought, “why me, why now?” The cancer had now become my new reality. For some, the word “cancer” can be paralyzing, perpetuating fear. But for me, cancer was my new beginning. After being on treatment for a few years, I went into remission, I was relieved that I beat this cancer. I am a firm believer that the universe has a way of revealing small pieces of your destiny through tragedy; it’s a road map that leads to purpose.

Resilience in Recurrence

But when thinking of my own personal scars, I can’t help but think of my breaking point. After several years of being in remission, I experienced, what I considered the Big Blow. I noticed a pain in my back. I thought I had just pulled a muscle, so I didn’t think anything of it. This time in my life was very stressful. I was working all of the time so I thought my back pain could be fixed by muscle relaxers. Until I felt a lump in my throat. I called my oncologist and she instructed me to come in to the office as soon as I could. I had scans done and a biopsy of my neck. I was laying on the table to get my biopsy and I just thought, wow this again? But I knew I had the strength to fight again. The biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

I thought my life was over. I can recall the exact moment on the very day when I heard those words. This time the cancer had spread to different areas of my body. After receiving the news, I knew I had to push forward. But, man, it was devastating. The news hit harder than ever because I had been eagerly awaiting my birth date. Not my traditional birthday, but August 24, which was the day I celebrated life because it was a commemoration of my survivorship, a second chance at living after cancer. It was my bittersweet milestone as a breast cancer survivor.

So, it was time to discuss treatments, once again. My oncologist told me about IBRANCE, a treatment that had been FDA-approved as a first-line treatment option for adult patients with HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer that I could take in combination with letrozole, which is an aromatase inhibitor. We discussed the benefits and risks, including serious and common side effects. I liked that I can take pills and go on with my day, so my doctor prescribed IBRANCE with letrozole. We monitored my treatment, adjusted my dose as needed, and so far, taking IBRANCE has been a good experience for me. I did experience some side effects, such as fatigue. But this is just my experience. Other patients may experience serious or common side effects including low white blood cell counts, lung problems, low red blood cell counts, low platelet counts, and loss of appetite.

Before the initial diagnosis, I was such a risk taker, no holds barred. I traveled all over the world and was nearing the end of my doctoral program. Then, all of the sudden, I thought my life was totally over. Cancer momentarily slowed me down causing a major life shift. I fell down but I got back up! I have come a long way in my journey. I have fought through obstacles that I never thought I would encounter. But it made me who I am today. I can still remember the night of my very first chemotherapy treatment when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I vividly remember thoughts and feelings of uncertainty. I remember the energy in the room, it was such a dark place. I thought, “What could I do, how could I help?” I wanted to spread kindness and hope to each person who walked in the door to get treatment. I wanted to do something. That’s why after my mBC diagnosis, I decided to be a voice and advocate for those with metastatic breast cancer. I was ready to be part of the community of the many voices that advocate for themselves and who would no longer be silent about the effects of cancer in all areas: mentally, physically, and financially.

A Calling to Serve

I was gifted with the idea to give hats to chemo patients. That night, I started a social media page, Hatz 4 Hearts. I wanted to start a foundation with one thing in mind—providing HOPE by giving hats to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who are losing their hair. A simple and heartfelt gesture was my personal gift of hope, but little did I know it would become much more. Giving was not only a gift to others but my own personal therapy toward my own healing and fighting against cancer. I am most proud of Hatz 4 Hearts and what it means to me: it’s my gift, my ministry, and my reminder of my beginning.

Having cancer is a continuous fight. You pay the ultimate price of physical and mental scars. And let us be real for a moment…cancer treatment costs can be crippling for some, and it is an unspoken truth that isn’t always discussed. There are people within a specific socioeconomic status who flat out cannot afford the necessities of care, let alone affordable cancer treatment. In my view, these people are often underserved. I am aware that there are many people like me, in the African American community, who fall into that category.

Although treatment is available to many, some patients cannot afford proper treatment and care. After being prescribed IBRANCE and discussing this cost concern with my doctor, she mentioned Pfizer Oncology Together, which is a program to help patients find financial support resources. They were there and allowed me to focus on my treatment. This was my experience. Not all patients may be eligible for the same resources.

Throughout my journey, I have learned that if cancer doesn’t take a break, neither will I. It’s about making changes in your lifestyle, being present, and being vulnerable enough in telling your truth to help others on the road to healing. My fight is continually focused on efforts to serve others in the community. Together, we can work to change the narrative.

Ambassadors were asked to share their personal stories about IBRANCE and compensated by Pfizer for doing so. All content was accurate at the time of publication and may have since changed.




Nicole approached her metastatic breast cancer with a blend of realism and hope. With a heart full of dreams, she declared, "But I knew I had the strength to fight again." Nicole also channeled her experience into a powerful force for good, starting Hatz 4 Hearts to provide comfort to others undergoing chemotherapy.