A couple of weeks ago, I got the opportunity to participate in the Breast Cancer Broncos halftime show. I was one of six women recognized during the show. It was such an incredible experience. The day started with all of the survivors who’d been invited to participate gathering at the field at 10 a.m. We got wrist bands which allowed us down on the field. We had a walk-through to practice what we would be doing for the halftime show. After we practiced, we got to go to the club level where a brunch was set up for all of us. It was so nice. We also got shirts and hats.
The six survivors who were chosen to be recognized were all picked based on letters and nominations that either a friend, family member, or someone in the community had sent in on their behalf. Most of us did not know what person had recommended us or what the person had said. When we did the walk-through we were all talking about how nervous we were because we had no clue what the announcer was going to say about each of us.
Friends had given me some tickets to the game so that I could invite some of my family to share in the special day. Tyler, my husband, and I watched the first half. It was only the second time I had ever been to a Broncos game. I loved it! It was so fun. Our seats were about 14 rows from the field, so the view was incredible! It was also my husband’s birthday weekend so it was such a special thing for us to get to do together for his birthday.
A few minutes before halftime, I made my way to the meeting spot where we all met up to be escorted onto the field. When we got to the field it was a very different sight! I looked up and saw all of the fans in the stands and thought, “WOW!” It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was so loud and you could feel the pounding of the feet and hands inside your soul! It was truly an experience unlike any other.
When the music started and we made our way to the field I immediately looked up into the stands for my husband and then for my family. I found Tyler right away and just focused on him. It was so loud. I was so nervous but I was trying so hard not to show it on camera. As the announcer started reading all of our stories I was so overcome with emotion and the tears just stared flowing. I had spent the entire morning with these women and we talked about how nervous we were for what was going to be said. It was all so touching and to hear each of their stories reminded me how blessed and lucky we are to still be alive!
When it came to my story, the announcer talked about my original diagnosis and the birth of my sweet baby girl Abbey. I was so happy when he said “Abigail was born on April 4, 2009 healthy and perfect as could be!” I threw my hands up in the air and started clapping. The fans were all cheering for her. Then when he talked about my recent diagnosis and the cancer spreading to my liver I could hear everyone’s cheering go into a gasp and then sobbing. All I could do is smile as big as I could.
I don’t want people to be sad for me.
I want them to be moved and strengthened, through my smile and my spirit.
I felt that if they saw me smile they would not feel sad or sorry for me; they would feel my joy.
After they read our stories, they released balloons into the sky. The whole stadium sky filled with pink balloons. It was a beautiful sight. As I made my way back into the stadium and back toward the elevator to go back to my seat, some people stopped me.
It was very moving because I had some young mothers with babies my Abbey’s age, husbands with wives who had died from breast cancer, women who were survivors of all sorts, and others who wanted to just give me a hug and let me know that they would be praying for me and my family. Some of them told me their stories and wanted to simply say, “I love you.” Some just wanted to cry.
When I finally got back to my seat, some people patted me on the back. My husband just grabbed me, hugged me, and with tears in his eyes said, “I have never been more proud of you! You are an inspiration to every single person in this stadium today!” It made my eyes fill with tears. I did feel proud. I felt like I did so much good that day.
It was an amazing day from start to finish. I have a saying that I always say: I have GOOD days and I have GREAT days. I don’t have bad days anymore. And that was a GREAT day!
Read “What Happened to Abbey’s Mom.”
Read Nicole’s first blog post.
Read Nicole’s second blog post.
Read Nicole’s third blog post.
Read Nicole’s fourth blog post.