I am a teacher at Kilsyth Academy, in Kilsyth, near Glasgow.
In May 2018, we heard the news that Nicole, one of our S6 pupils, had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We were all understandably shocked and very upset at the thought of this lovely young woman having to battle something like this.
Nicole is one of life's positive people. She is thoughtful, hard-working, and friendly. An active member of the school community as a house captain, completing her Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award, and taking part in many activities.
The diagnosis meant that Nicole did not sit her last few SQA exams. It also meant that she was unable to take part in the school trip to Rwanda, which she had fundraised for. She describes it as 'the trip of a lifetime', and was devastated to miss it. She would have been in her element working with people and carrying out charity work. True to form, she picked herself up and decided to focus on next year. She is still determined to visit the country, and anyone that knows her knows she will do it.
Nicole came in the week after her diagnosis to talk to her teachers, and I was able to have a chat with her. Her positivity is inspiring, as well as her determination. She said from the outset she didn't want people crying, she wanted to stay positive and fight this with everything - and she has stayed true to her word.
One of the first things she did was set up a blog to document her treatment and her experiences of living with Hodgkin's. Many of our pupils have subscribed to the blog, and express admiration for how positive and honest she is.
You can follow Nicole's journey on her blog, "The C Word" at https://nicolelowther.wixsite.com/thecword
Here at Kilsyth Academy, we are a family. As one of our family was going through a tough time, we wanted to do something to show our support for her. Nicole has expressed admiration and gratitude for the Teenage Cancer Trust who have made her visits for chemotherapy so much more bearable. Myself and another member of staff, Lynne, talked about a sponsored head shave. I put the idea to Nicole, and she loved it - having recently had her transition haircut, she was overwhelmed that people would do this for her. She faces the reality of losing her hair, and again, has faced it with strength and dignity. For us, this is a choice, and one which will hopefully raise some money for a fantastic charity.
So far there are five of us taking part, with perhaps more to join in. Nicole and her family are planning to come along on the day, and pupils are taking forms home to get donations too.
*Edited to add - Rachael and Emma from S6 are joining us and donating their ponytails to Little Princess Trust*
It shows just how much Nicole is thought of - her school family are behind her all the way and want to do their bit to support the charity who are supporting her. She is halfway through her treatment, and so far responding well. Some days are tougher than others, but through it all she hasn't lost her smile or her fighting spirit.
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