FILL THE GAP

FILL THE GAP

We believe that fighting cancer is not only a physical battle but also an emotional battle that can be helped through loving support. Unfortunately, most pediatric cancer support programs age out at 18, leaving a gap for college-aged (18-24) young adults fighting cancer. Nik found this gap and with your help, we can fill it!

Help fund one of our wishes in waiting. We'll keep you up to date on the joy you delivered.

Keaira

fighting Hodgkin's Lymphoma

In the beginning of October, I got accepted to my first-choice university, Shippensburg, in the History Program. I am aiming to major in American/Public History and work behind the scenes in either museums or local historical societies. I am looking at a minor in Creative Writing. My family was so excited for me as this is what I had been hoping for. Over the next few weeks, I got accepted to all of the schools I applied to, so we were spending that time reviewing everything and trying to finalize my choice when I was admitted to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania for suspicion of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Since then everything has changed. I was worried that I would not be able to accept my offer at Shippensburg, however my oncology team says I should continue with my plans. I've been hesitant to do this just yet, but my mom and family continue to encourage me to stay focused on my goals. I have opted to participate in a clinical trial for treatment which allows me to go to the clinic a little less and not have as many side effects to the treatment, but I have slowed down a lot and attend school only 2-3 days a week. I try to still go as much as I can as my teachers and friends are all supportive. I'm also supposed to be in a play with our drama department in a few weeks and this helps me cope on the tough days as I have something to look forward to in the coming weeks. I am almost done with my second treatment cycle and hope to see positive results on my upcoming scan to show us that the treatment is working. I think this is what I need to see to keep my focus on my goals. I have been having some tough days over the holidays as I don't feel up to celebrating as I feel like what's the point since I am in the worst days I have ever had. One of the worst days was the day I decided to have my hair shaved. I had long hair so losing it all gives me a physical reminder of what I am going through. I try to stay positive, but my mom says I'm allowed to have all sorts of feelings as each day is different, but this is only temporary.

I hope to be able to feel better, and good about myself and gain the confidence to make plans for after graduation. I told my family I still want to go to Shippensburg, and they are all so supportive and are looking forward to some of the positive things we have coming up this year.
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I would like to take some time with my family and celebrate beating cancer and graduating from high school as I hope this all happens at that same time and turns all of these negative days into positive ones. I would like to either go to the Outer Banks with them as that is our happy place or I have thought it would be fun to visit Universal Studios as we all love Harry Potter.

Isabel

fighting Germ Cell Cancer

When I first got diagnosed when I was you ger life just seemed to fly by I knew I had cancer but i didn't know I had it as severe as I did to me I was still able to play and be so what of a normal kid as I got older it was all a blur. This time around being 18 it felt like someone put me in jail. My whole life stopped literally. I had to quickly plan around finals and think about next school semester while all I feel the need to do is sleep. Regardless of my disappointment I try to remind myself of all the love and support I am blessed to have in my life and that with the help of God all get through this with patience and strength.
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
Either or I love to experience life through events but also a gift is something I will always be grateful for! Both way I would be absolutely thankful even just getting the opportunity

Andrea

fighting Breast Cancer


WISH: Gaming Computer
Before being diagnosed, I was a graduate student on a full ride scholarship. I was living on my own for the first time, and I was finally getting to be independent. My second semester of graduate school I got diagnosed with cancer (I got the call while I was in class -- about to take a quiz). Because I was going to school out of state, I had to forfeit my scholarship and place in the graduate program to go back home and face chemo, a double mastectomy and lymph node removal, and now radiation. I still have a lot of physical and occupational therapy to attend, since I'm at high risk for lymphedema after surgery and have nowhere near the same range of motion or strength I had before surgery. I have a lot of insecurities/psychological effects from being in medically induced menopause at 23, losing my breasts and not being able to have reconstruction until 6-8 months after radiation, and not being able to have the independent life I was having before. I am transferring to a school closer to home to hopefully finish my degree.
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
The Sims 4 has been my favorite game for the longest time, but ever since my diagnosis it has been the best escapism I could have. While staying in bed, I've been able to build houses and apartments and create sims that have incredible lives beyond cancer.

Deonte

fighting Osteosarcoma

Before being diagnosed I spent a lot of time with people my own age. I spent time outside of my house and with my friends. Since being diagnosed I have felt very isolated. I rarely leave home, I have trouble getting around after having surgery on my leg and I use crutches or sometimes a wheelchair to move around. The cancer center where I go for treatment has a lot of older patients so I spend a lot time again with people that are not my same age. The isolation and experience of not being around people my own age is the biggest shift that stands out to me.
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I would like a new gaming computer. Specifically a Voyager II PC

Shaniah

fighting Hodgkin's Lymphoma


WISH: Undecided
Before treatment I was a normal high schooler. Now, I am in the hospital often and due to the transplant, I can not go to many places. I would like to rent a movie theatre for a private screening of a movie with family and friends

Alexandra

fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia


WISH: Rainforest
Before my diagnosis, I was super active playing volleyball and I was in college getting my bachelors in psychology. I was diagnosed my junior year, a week before my 21st birthday. I received treatment, graduated, and relapsed last year. Since then I've been on a maintenance treatment and I'm working to gain my strength back after all my treatments caused some muscle loss. Meanwhile, I'm keeping myself busy by doing hobbies such as crocheting and painting.!

Jocelyn

fighting ALL


WISH: Hawaii
My life before my diagnosis was pretty normal but I couldn't have asked for anything better. I was a very active 21 year old that was living at home. I am the oldest daughter, with 2 blended families with a total of 9 siblings combined, so I guess you could say I have a really big family but life at home was never boring. I was going to Stanislaus State University full time, which is about a 30 minute commute from Merced, my hometown. I was studying Chemistry/Biology hoping to get into the Medical Field one day. I also worked at the local coffee shop, Dutch Bros Coffee, as a barista. Some things I enjoy doing in my free time are going to the gym, playing soccer with my little sister, as I grew up playing soccer until high school and she just started playing, and watching sports! I love watching really any type of sports but I would say my favorite is football-Go Niners, baseball(Giants), and soccer (USA). Also, I really enjoy going on trips, going to the beach, and going to concerts with friends. Really anything and everything I could do, I would without hesitation. I was really living my best life and getting use to my everyday schedule.
During finals week, I started feeling really tired. I didn't think anything of it just as a lack of sleep from studying so much. Then throughout the week I started developing more symptoms such as pounding headaches, shortness of breath, and one day I came home to my mom noticing my lips were super pale. From that moment, my mom noticed our doctor who ordered lab work. It took a couple days to get that done but my only focus was my finals. After a few days, I had decided I wanted to go to my friends graduation no matter how I was feeling. That day, I woke up from a nap, got ready, and took some ibuprofen to get myself through the day. During the ceremony, is when the doctor had called with the results. He told me I needed to go to the ER immediately, as my mom was so worried she came to pick me up. My hemoglobin was at a 4.1, and the normal range is 12-16, so mine has been extremely low. I was then admitted to the local hospital where I received 3 blood transfusions within the same night. Even the nurses had never seen anything lower than 7 and was surprised I was still walking at that point. A few days later, I ended up at Stanford Medical Center, where I received my official diagnosis of B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This day my life changed forever.
After my diagnosis, my life completely turned upside-down. I have been in the hospital more than I have been home. I had to take a break from school, work, the gym, and trips. I also haven't been able to really see any of my family or friends, unless they were willing to make the 2 and a half hour drive from our hometown. My mom and dad have been switching off staying with me because they do allow one caregiver overnight. Thankfully, one day I was able to see the light again through all these dark days. I just received my bone marrow transplant! My 17 year old brother was thankfully a 100% match. I couldn't be more thankful it worked out that way because then my journey would've probably been a lot longer. Through this all, I am thankful to call this my journey and have such a great support system on my side. I know this journey will only make me stronger as a person, and overall I am just grateful to be alive!

Katelyn

fighting Osteosarcoma


WISH: Swimming with dolphins
Prior to my diagnosis, I lived a very active and busy lifestyle. I completed my freshman year at the University of Kentucky as a nursing major carrying a 4.0 GPA. I'm a member of both the University of Kentucky's Dance Team and Tridelta sorority. I enjoyed working out and spending time with my friends and family as much as possible.

Since treatment, my college life has been put on hold. My current treatment plan includes admission three weeks in a row to receive chemotherapy. I'm taking online courses, have attended a few UK football games, and visit UK as much as possible..

Camryn

fighitng Ewings Sarcoma


WISH: Hawaii
I am in college and Mid-America Christian University and was planning to attend school this year but before my diagnosis I had hip surgery so I was at home for a whole month recovering and then found out about my diagnosis. I play basketball at my college and was going to start my second year. After finding out about my diagnosis, my life has changed tremendously. My story has reached so many people and I never would have imagined this happening to me. I live in a very small town in Texas with not much to do so I usually either hangout with friends and family or binge watch Netflix series.

Arlo

fighting Germ Cell Cancer


WISH: Legoland Florida
I am on the autism spectrum and I was enrolled in a group therapy program that I attended two days a week. I used to go for long walks every day and watch movies and play with my dog before I got sick.I was diagnosed in June and was hospitalized at South Shore University Hospital for almost four months and was discharged on 10/19/23. Right now I enjoy the same things but I'm not well enough to resume going to my program or going on long walks. Everything is different now and I don't know what my life is going to be like yet.
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I want to go to Legoland in Florida because I went there in 2017 with my mom and I'd love to go back again. I love building with Legos and Legoland was so fun because they have an awesome water park and lots of cool rides and exhibits. I've been a Lego fan for most of my life and I've been to Lego conventions and special exhibits in the past.

Ashlynn

fighting Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic Leukemia


I relapsed. Prior to this, I was in my junior year of high school. I was looking forward to my proms, senior year, and attending college when done. I had been working part time after school and during the summer. I had earned enough money on my own to purchase my first car, a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. I had only had it for two months before I relapsed. After starting chemotherapy, I experienced a cerebral hemorrhage and seizures. I was on a ventilator and had an emergent craniectomy. I had to wear a helmet to protect my brain from January until September last year. This is when I was able to have surgery to have my bone that had been removed replaced. I have been either hospitalized or immunocompromised . I had to complete my junior and senior year with online classwork. I missed out on all the exciting senior moments. I have not been able to drive my car since I have had seizures. I was very fortunate to find a unrelated donor match. I am currently 58 days post transplant as of today. I have been staying in Atlanta for my bone marrow transplant and currently 5 hours away from home. I haven't been able to be around my friends for the past 1.5 years. I am looking forward to the day that it safe to travel home and hang out with my family and friends again. I am praying that my cancer will never relapse again and that I can say I am cancer free forever!
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I am asking for my wish to be a gift of a service dog for my seizures.

Deondra

fighting Medulloblastoma


I was pretty normal. Meetings, the ministry, friends. Now it's a little harder
I have any physical restrictions like walking normally, writing, seeing

Luke

fighting Hodgkin's Lymphomia


Before being diagnosed with stage IV hodgkin's lymphoma, I was a busy student-athlete. I was involved in football, basketball, baseball, track, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and National Honors Society during my time at Oregon City Schools. Outside of school, I was very active with my church, volunteering in children's church and helping with the audio-visual department. Summers had been spent playing travel baseball, participating in football workouts, hanging out at Cedar Point, and working with the grounds crew at the Oregon Recreation Department. I often volunteered at a number of youth summer camps through my church and at Clay High School, where I helped to encourage and train the younger generation.

I graduated with honors and was looking forward to attending college at the University of Toledo to earn a degree in a healthcare field. A month before school started, I went to an allergist due to chronic itching that was not being relieved by other treatments my PCP suggested. Thankfully, the allergist did blood work, in which he discovered I was anemic and suggested I follow up with my doctor. Many tests were performed, but I proceeded with college, until it was eventually discovered that I had hodgkin's lymphoma. The oncologist suggested I take a medical leave of absence to focus on my health. I started 6 rounds of outpatient chemotherapy and things were going great other than the typical fatigue, nausea, and isolation struggles. After the first PET scan, I got encouraging news that the cancer was responding, but unfortunately, after the fourth round, another PET scan was performed, and the cancer had started to grow back again. I couldn't believe it and I was so disappointed that I wasn't almost done with this tough journey. From that point, I started immunotherapy to hopefully maintain the progress I had made and my local oncologist referred me to a lymphoma specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. The lymphoma specialist suggested a treatment plan that involved intense chemotherapy, along with a stem cell transplant. Currently I am recovering in Cleveland, and have been confined to the bone marrow transplant unit for 20 days. The intense chemotherapy was no joke. I have been on oxygen, had many blood cultures done, along with chest and head CT scans to make sure I didn't have infections due to my struggle with a consistent fever. I have lost 25 pounds since my admission, but finally each day seems a tad bit better than the one before. I am looking forward to going home soon!
What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
For my Nik's wish, I would love to go to Hawaii with my parents, three sisters, and my two brother-in-laws. While there, if possible I would really like to do some fishing and maybe even learn how to surf. I chose this wish, because the last 8 months have been such a challenge for me and my family, and it would be nice to get away to a tropical location and do our best not to think about the struggles I have endured throughout this journey. I believe it would be a boost to my mental health and be great to make dream like memories with my family. Thank you for the opportunity to be placed on your waiting list and hopefully eventually be considered for this wish.

Matthew

fighting Glioblastoma


Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Matt moved to Boston to attend Northeastern U where he completed a double major in Math and Music. During undergrad Matt also studied Conducting and saxophone performance at the New England Conservatory of Music and was President of Northeastern's Wind ensemble for 2 years, during which he conducted the group alongside their director and premiered his own arrangements and original compositions. After finishing his degrees in 2021, Matt stuck around Boston to start work full time at Wayfair as a pricing analyst while also playing saxophone in and conducting community bands all over the Boston area.
Then everything changed. Matt and his partner Ellesse (they had met in the music dorms at Northeastern) were moving into their new rental together in Jamaica Plain just near Boston when Matt started getting some bad migraines, vision loss and nausea. Matt was rushed to the hospital where an MRI Showed a lime-sized tumor growing very fast in his brain. Matt went in for a craniotomy where about half the tumor was removed. The biopsy returned the results of Glioblastoma, the most aggressive and incurable primary brain tumor. Matt was given a prognosis of about 5 years. After another surgery and radiation treatment, Matt now has limited use of his left side, and walks around with a cane. Though he can't play the sax anymore he still spends his days arranging and composing music for local bands to perform.
Matt and Ellesse, now newly engaged,☺️ are still sprucing up their Jamaica Plain apartment, birdwatching in Boston's great parks, going to local concerts and festivals, and traveling around the US and abroad(when Matt has the energy to do so).
Matt is now almost a year out from his surgery and doing his best to live his life to the fullest.

Sarah

fighting Synovial Sarcoma


I would describe my life before my diagnosis in one word as full. I was at the time of my diagnosis serving a full-time mission for my church in Jacksonville, Flordia. I spent my days serving and talking with people. I had a full schedule every day and experienced a lot of joy. Before that I was a full-time student at Utah State University, where my schedule was full of classes, friends and activities. After my diagnosis, I had a pretty drastic change. I spent a lot of time at doctors appointments and I went from a full schedule to struggling to fill my time each day. I did pick up some new hobbies like embroidery, but it has been hard. I try to find little joys in each day.

Payton

fighting Osteosrcoma


My life before diagnosis was vibrant! I was an accomplished high school athlete in various sports, including becoming a state hurdle champion my junior year. I was an excited college student ready to take on the world after graduation until the end of my sophomore year when I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in my left femur. I was then immediately treated with chemotherapy and a full knee replacement, which made me take a semester off from school. Although, I am limited in my mobility now and there are certain thing I will never do again such as running which was my passion. I am still trying to comprehend everything even after an entire year and am still adjusting to my new normal.

Jaydon

fighting Osteosrcoma


I was a normal teen, active in High School football. I graduated with honors and was planning my future. I loved working as a Heavy Equipment Operator. It provided me the independence every 18yr old craves. I was well on my way into my "real life" beginning adulthood phase.
Then "real life" hit me in a way I never expected, cancer. I have felt every emotion possible; scared I'm going to die, angry it's happening to me, jealous of my friends starting their lives, careers and college, while my life is stuck in neutral. I have emotions that I didn't expect; appreciation of the love of my friends & family, humor where you least expect it & an inner strength I didn't know I possessed. There are truly great things that can be found during our darkest times.

Cody

fighting Colon/Liver cancer


My life was full of joy & laughter. I was living the best life with my wife and our first son!! After my diagnosis everything went downhill. We were lost ,worried, concerned, confused. We didn't know what to do or expect. We lost our home & moved in with our family. My wife is carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders to take care of me and my son.

Jadyn

fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia


Having a Nik's Wish will definitely support me and my loved ones by giving Jadyn something to look forward to. And to help increase her self esteem & encourage her to continue to fight every day even if things are hard or looks like an unfavorable outcome. More than anything this wish will hope put some better memories for her to go to Universal Studios then her previous MAW whe Jadyn was seriously ill and missed the last half of her Disney trip & all of Univ Studios experience

Nikita

fighting Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma


I had kidney issues since I was 7 yrs old. College was essentially the first time I was able to go to school and build a life. Now I have to give myself up to the hospital once again. I really had to grow up all over, re-access my mental health, emotional, and spiritual health as I'm going through this. I've changed in such a short amount of time that it surprised me, but I'm going through this knowing I can, without losing myself. It truly is a difficult journey, but one I am not stepping down from.

Samuel

fighting Osteosarcoma


When I was 8 years old I was dx with a Medulloblastoma brain tumor. I went through a lot then and had to relearn how to walk and do other things. I still have some balance and coordination issues because of that but I was cancer free for 9 years. Then on my annual MRI I found out I had radiation induced osteosarcoma of the skull and brain. This was a big shock to me. I was about to start my senior year of high school and was planning on doing normal stuff like go to school and hang out with friends. But all that changed and now I spend a lot of time in the hospital getting chemo because the type I get you can’t do at home. I also had surgery in December, the day after my 18th birthday. I can only go to school in person a few days out of a month and trying to work out times to hang out with friends is hard too.


What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?

I would like to go to Wyoming because the pictures I’ve seen are really pretty, I like to ride horses, and I like anything western. I used to think I would like to work on a ranch someday if I could.

Forrest

Ewing Sarcoma

Before being diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma I was a defensive end on the Saint Ambrose College football team. I was in my second year of college getting ready to play in our first game. Instead of playing that weekend I was told the x-ray of my collar bone looked like it had a tumor. Since then I have had 6 chemo treatments before surgery to remove 3 inches of my collar bone. I now will have 8 more to be sure there is no more cancer hiding anywhere. As of today I have 6 more treatments left. The treatments are every two weeks. I stay in the hospital and they are 3 to 5 days. I am also staying in college while I am doing treatments. My plan is to play football next fall.


What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I would love to meet Tom Hanks. My mom named me after Forrest Gump one of his character's he plays in a movie. I think he is an amazing person and have always wanted to meet him. I realize this might be far fetched.

Hector

fighting Osteosarcoma

My life was good before cancer. I was able to have independence and have fun with friends. I didn't really have much stress in my life. After I was diagnosed, my life was full of stress and pain. After a while, I really lost my independence. Life became really hard. Recently, my lower leg was amputated. There is still some pain but its much better than the pain I was living with before. Hopefully, after rehab, I will be able to move around better and start to get my independence back. I am doing my best to keep a positive mind set and work on myself during this time.

What Nik's wish are you thinking about and why?
I am hoping to travel with my parents to Hawaii.

Samuel

fighting Lymphoma

Sam, age 20 from CT, was a healthy young man when he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer in January of 2021. He had a very scary & difficulty first round of chemo where he was in the intensive care unit. He's been adjusting to the new diagnosis but it's been extra challenging due to covid.