by Sue Ann Rybak
Nicole Stamps, of Flourtown, recalls that day as if it were yesterday. Just before her 40th birthday party, she found out she had invasive breast cancer. Stamps had planned a birthday party at the Four Seasons in Center City with 15 of her friends.
“I didn’t tell anybody that night I was diagnosed with cancer except for my closest, intimate friends,” Stamps said.
That night Stamps and three of her friends slept over and were enjoying brunch.
“It was October 18, 2008, and I was eating blueberry pancakes with three of my closest friends,” she said, “when a sea of pink outside caught our eyes. It was the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk. And literally at that moment I turned to one of my girlfriends and said ‘next year that will be me.’”
Stamps, a designer, construction consultant and single mother of three children – Ellie, 10, Charly, 15, and Mason, 17 – said it was never an option for her to be anything but OK.
Thanking God, Stamps said she is a cancer survivor – emphasis on survivor. After six surgeries and four month of chemotherapy, she is in remission, a word she absolutely loathes.
“Doctors won’t call you cured until you are cancer free for five years,” Stamps said. “I prefer to label myself cured, two years, premature.”
But in those three years, she has checked off many things on her “bucket list” including learning how to surf, nailing a hand stand in yoga, and running the Broad Street Run three years in a row. But, one of her greatest accomplishments Stamps said is participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. On Friday, Oct. 5, Stamps will participate in her fourth walk.
Stamps describes the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk as “the ultimate girls night out.”
“It’s an amazing experience,” Stamps said. “And there’s nothing like showering in a 18-wheeler.”
For Stamps, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is more than just about fund raising or walking 60 grueling miles in whatever weather mother-nature decides to dish out.
“Part of the reason I walk is so one day my children won’t have to,” she said. “I hope my children never have the honor of wearing a pink shirt. It’s not a honor anyone wants.”
Stamps said living through the ordeal of having cancer has made her stronger. She said it was “a lesson in letting go and relinquishing control” over different aspects of her life.
Stamps is an optimist. She said cancer has allowed her kids to see how much she is loved and how kind and loving people-even complete strangers can be.
“Cancer touches the lives of so many people,” Stamps said. “I have been so lucky to have so many wonderful people who are generous in their donations to support me.”
Stamps hopes that by sharing her story she will inspire someone else to keep on fighting.
“I get emails from random people thanking me for sharing my story,” she said. “You begin to realize the impact you can have on other people. I have been lucky to be able to give back and help dozens of other women diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Stamps said that while walking 60 miles won’t bring us closer to a cure, ultimately the money raised will.
For more information about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk or to make a donation go to www.the3day.org