Nicole Fiset

Like so many women, Nicole Fiset put the needs of her family above her own health. Although she discovered a lump on her breast, her physician would not order a mammogram because she was younger than 40. After showing her primary care physician the lump, a mammogram and ultrasound finally were ordered. Nicole was sent to Boston from New Hampshire for diagnosis and treatment. She knew it was cancer by the way the doctors and nurses reacted.

Nicole chose a lumpectomy to get back to her two-year-old daughter more quickly. Unfortunately, her husband left her and the rest of her family was in denial. Then she had a second lumpectomy two months later when the cancer reoccurred.

A fifth grade teacher in pursuit of her doctorate in education, Nicole had to take a leave of absence for treatment. She had reactions to the chemotherapy treatments and battled some depression for nearly a year. Almost two years later on May 25, 2010, Nicole received her last treatment.

The costs of treatment, her mortgage and every day bills were enormous. Some weeks she had to make tough choices between spending money on gas or groceries, but it was hard to ask for money. Nicole applied for one grant that provided her grocery gift cards and from them learned about the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. The grant Nicole received helped pay an entire month's mortgage.

"You always have to believe that there's someone out there to pick you up, dust you off and get you going again," said Nicole Fiset. "Thanks to the kindness of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation my worries were eased and I could focus on healing."

Unfortunately, Nicole recently was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had a hysterectomy. She hopes to recover in time to open her classroom again this September.