Friday, July 25, 2014
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Relay for Life co-chairs Nicole Bottrell and Nancy Reese
Getting by with a little help from friends and family

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[July 25, 2014]  LINCOLN - The upcoming Relay for Life does more than enable people to raise funds for cancer research and prevention. It is also a way for people to show support to friends and family who have battled cancer. To demonstrate how important the support of others is, honorary co-chairs and survivors Nicole Bottrell and Nancy Reese shared their stories of how people helped them through their battles with cancer.

Nicole Bottrell was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer December 2013 and began treatments in January 2014. She says, “Cancer has shown me how much I am loved. So many people did so many things for me. It all started with my parents, who went to every doctor appointment and made sure I took my medication on time. They stood by my side through this whole ordeal and continue to stay by my side.”

As the bills piled up, she says, “My co-workers at St. John’s Hospital held a bake sale with the proceeds going toward my medical bills. They also had a Hat Party for me and showered me with hats and scarves for when I lost my hair.” Referring to the time of her hair loss, Nicole says, “Brenda Humbert at Shear Perfection cut my hair and all my wigs for free. She made me feel pretty when I needed it the most.”

Nicole also received other types of support while undergoing treatments. She states, “My sister-in-law, Tonya Turner, cleaned the house while I got chemotherapy so I would come home to a dust free home. I had several friends cook dinner for us every time I received chemo or had doctor’s appointments because it usually was an all-day event. I received letter after letter from family, friends, and even complete strangers giving me words of encouragement or a joke to make me laugh. I loved it the most when people would stop by to see me because I didn’t have the energy or immune system to be out and about.”

Additionally she says, “The thing that helped me the most through this whole ordeal was the power of prayer. I couldn’t even count people that prayed for me. It really does mean a lot to me that I am in so many people’s prayers. This is just a very short list of what people did for me.”

Nicole says, “I never knew how loved I was until I got cancer . . . I would have never made it this far without my family and friends.”

Nancy Reese’s battle with breast cancer occurred in 1976 when she 38. She says, “At that time, my husband Wally and I, and our five sons (who ranged in age from six months to 15 years) were living in Springfield, Illinois.”

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Regarding her rare type of cancer, she says “recovery was long and difficult—three weeks of radiation followed by 18 months of chemotherapy.” With her husband working, they needed extra help during this time, so her mother stepped in. She notes, “I am an only child and my mother was a widow. She decided to take early retirement to help Wally and me through this healing time and stayed with us until
I felt strong enough to take over household responsibilities.” Her mother also took her to many of her appointments.

Like Nicole, Nancy had the support of friends as she “relied on friendly neighbors to be babysitters while I continued therapy.”

Having been cancer free for over 35 years, she says, “I feel very fortunate to have remained cancer free these many years and, along with Barb Howe, I founded the Logan County Breast Cancer Group which is still active today.”

As both of their stories show, the support of family and friends is a vital part of the cancer journey. Both grateful survivors see participation in and support of the Relay for Life as a way for many more to join the ranks of friends and families who help cancer victims emerge victoriously.

The relay will take place at Lincoln College beginning on Friday evening at 6 p.m. on July 25 through 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

For more information call Tonita Reifsteck at 217-855-6145 or look up 



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