Courtesy of Lynn Taylor photography
This is a version of an article which first appeared in Gulf Coast Newspapers.
If you live in the Fairhope area, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket to help Nicole and her family. Outside the area, you may call Community Bank to make a donation at: (251) 338-8200
You can see the video mentioned in the following article by clicking here.
The Gift of Flight
by Leslie Anne Harrison
The harsh side effects of chemotherapy usually take a toll on the physical appearance of cancer patients, who are understandably exhausted. But when I ran into Nicole Teague, I didn’t immediately notice anything different. As always, her sparkling eyes, bright smile and familiar giggle were so prominent, that it took me a moment to realize her long wavy brown hair was gone, snatched away by ruthless treatments for type IIIc ovarian cancer.
Nicole and I first met several years ago in Community Bible Study and everyone in our class immediately loved her. Long before her illness, Nicole emanated a spirit of great joy, adventure and fun. Blessed with two beautiful daughters, Molly, age ten and Evangiline only six years old, Nicole hasn’t let illness change her exuberant personality or positive outlook on life.
A few years ago, I saw Nicole riding her bicycle in downtown Fairhope, and laughingly thought she really should stop smiling so much or she would get bugs in her teeth! But like a real life Snow White, Nicole glided down the flower–lined streets, waving to friends along the way while only butterflies dared come near.
After four major surgeries and several heavy rounds of chemotherapy, Nicole’s doctors made a stunning conclusion. “This past May, I was told I have two years to live,” said the completely composed 35 year old. “I’m not afraid, but so many people my age don’t know how to talk about death. It isn’t something we usually discuss, so through my experience, I hope to help others deal with this difficult topic.”
And “deal with it” she is. Busy doing things she’s always wanted to do, Nicole is, among other things, learning to play the cello, paddleboard, ride a Segway, and there are even rumors of her jumping into the Fairhope fountain! Every day has become an incredible gift to celebrate her time here on earth.
Often using her beautiful voice to sing for others, Nicole and her daughters are preparing a special song to sing in church this Christmas. “Knowing life has a deadline has given me a gift; to love fully and make the most of every moment that I’m blessed with.”
Nicole’s husband of almost fifteen years has been a great source of strength. “Matt has never once made me feel like a burden. My treatments were so harsh for a while, and he took care of everything.” Working as a freelance foreign correspondent, Matt writes mainly for the Los Angeles Times and is often required to travel.
During the times when Matt is away and even when he has been by her side, their church family at First Baptist Church of Fairhope has stepped in to offer complete support. The members have delivered over 117 meals to the young family, and sometimes the meals have come from people who don’t personally know the Teagues. Friends have also shown up to take care of the family’s laundry and perform other chores when daily tasks were overwhelming.
Having decided to live life to the fullest and enjoy what time is left, one thing alone now concerns Nicole, and that is understandably the effect this experience will have on her daughters. “For me, the most important thing is to leave an impression on my girls so they never forget me.”
Nicole’s co-workers and Brenny’s Jewelry in downtown Fairhope understood that concern and took action. Lynn Reedy, Ava Ingersoll and Katherine Young surprised Nicole and Matt with the idea of a raffle to raise money for a memorable family trip. “Both Molly and Evageline have flown on airplanes before, but they were so young, they don’t remember the experience,” said Nicole.
Nicole’s daughters are at the right age for an airplane trip with both parents, as it would become a treasured memory. The family humbly accepted the generous offer of the raffle, and the two little girls are excitedly trying to decide where they would like to go. Washington D. C. and New York are heavy favorites, but “anywhere the airplane goes” is the standard answer.
Understandably, moments of sadness still remain, but Nicole Teague knows who holds her future. Her goal in life is now to let others know they too can have this same peace in their lives. “I want to live openly and share my faith about this entire experience. God has a purpose in all this, and that’s a freeing thing.”
The night after Nicole’s first major surgery, she sat up in her bed at Thomas Hospital, and along with her friend Shane Langley, sang her gratitude to God in the song, “Blessings” written by Laura Story. The YouTube video of Nicole’s performance has already received almost 1,000 views and has garnered positive feedback for helping others in similar situations.
With a smile on her face, the young mother softly said, “When I look back on each moment I’ve had with my girls, I don’t regret anything. They know I love them and they will never doubt that.”
And everyone who has ever met Nicole Teague also loves her. And she . . . should never doubt that.
The Raffle will be held on October 18th. Tickets can be purchased for $10 each at Brenny’s Jewelers, Page and Palette Bookstore, Give A Dog A Bone, All Baldwin Cleaners, Private Gallery, and The Community Bank — both Daphne and Fairhope locations. Prizes include a two night stay in a Gulf front condominium, or a beautiful Seiko watch.