Likes: Running/exercise, reading, travelling, eating out at good restaurants, watching good movies and  series, and Spending time with my family and friends.  

Dislikes: Arrogant people who look down on others.  

“All lives matter, no matter who you are or where you come from everyone deserves to be treated  with dignity and respect”.  

Nicole Fuller is a 54-year-old who is a mother to two gorgeous sons named Ayrton who is  23 and Greg who is 17. Nicole is also married to a dentist and avid runner, Mr. Chris Fuller.  The mother of two has been a diplomat for South Africa and boasts many titles to her name  for the cross country and road running categories. Nicole is also an Oncology patient  navigator, a breast cancer exercise specialist, a public speaker, a breast cancer survivor,  and an advocate.  

In early July 2017, Nicole came to the realization that she had a swelling in her left breast  and suspected it was breast cancer, however, she chose to be optimistic about it even  though she knew empirically that it may have been breast cancer. She was diagnosed with  breast cancer after two weeks of undergoing a mammogram, ultrasound/ sonar scan, and a  core needle biopsy.  

You can just imagine hearing the words, you have breast cancer- it strikes fear into the  very depths of your soul”  

Nicole was perplexed about the fact that she was diagnosed with breast cancer while she  was fit and led a healthy lifestyle, the news came as a surprise to her, she started  questioning her life span- she started questioning the amount of time she had left on earth,  but that didn’t stop her from fighting. Nicole kept her spirit of optimism and kept going strong  while bearing the pain until she finally received the medical treatment She deserved. Mrs.  Nicole says that she is very grateful that she did not need to undergo radiotherapy and 

chemotherapy since she had an early stage invasive endocrine/ hormonal breast cancer  with an excellent prognosis. Nicole went on to have a remarkable recovery from her breast  cancer.  

I was determined not to let cancer define me and focused on getting back to my fitness as  quickly as possible”  

The breast cancer survivor’s running career had instilled her with perseverance, discipline,  and commitment. Marathon training taught her to push through the pain and endure it and  by this, she was prepared to face her very frightening cancer journey. 

Two months after her mastectomy she attended a woman of stature- breast health  foundation collaboration fundraising event for breast cancer awareness during pink October  breast cancer awareness month. It was at this event that Nicole encountered the amazing  founder and CEO of the Woman of Stature, Charlotte Du Plessis. The woman of stature is  an organization that empowers, supports, and trains women from all walks of life. Nicole  indicated that it was through this event that she heard her remarkable surgeon Prof. Carol  Benn give a mesmerizing inspirational speech. It suddenly occurred to Nicole that by  sharing her breast cancer journey, her own knowledge, experience in athletics and  coaching, she could inspire, educate, and motivate other cancer patients and survivors.  Nicole went on to do a public speaking course through the ‘Woman of Impact speakers  bureau’ and the training gave her the necessary skills and helped her to develop the  confidence to stand up and fetch her life, and she also attained an aid and exposure that  was necessary for her to develop her skill. 

“It was through the Breast Health Foundation founded by Prof Carol Benn that I heard about  Oncology Patient Navigation. Navigation is the individualized assistance given to cancer patients  and their families to help them to overcome the many barriers faced on the very daunting cancer  journey from diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship”  

Oncology patient navigation fascinated Nicole and made her determined to learn all about it,  she later went on to do advocacy and navigation through the breast health foundation- The  Fundamentals of Oncology Patient Navigation and Survivorship for primary care providers  through the George Washington University, Washington USA.  

She completed the CETI cancer exercise training institute USA-a breast cancer exercise  training specialist course, furthermore, she was also accepted to pen down the AONN  (Academy of nurse and patient navigation), oncology navigation exam in the USA.  It was a privilege for her to be guided and mentored by Prof. Carol Benn and her Breast  Health Foundation and to also do her practical navigation training at the Helen Joseph  Breast Care Clinic. Nicole had to do a year of practical navigation training in order to qualify  to write the exam. Working at the Helen Joseph Breast Care Centre certainly had a huge  impact on Nicole’s life. Although It was very terrifying for Nicole to see the impact of a very  fractured public health care system on our public patients, It gave her great pleasure to  assist those patients from all walks of life and to help them to overcome the many barriers  they face on their Cancer journeys and help to make things a little less daunting.  

Nicole’s life has certainly transitioned for the better looking back at her own cancer journey.  She indicates that her breast cancer journey was the one that aided her to fetch her life and  achieve all the things she achieved in life. Mrs. Nicole says that as a breast cancer survivor  you connect with other cancer patients on a deeper level. Helping people makes her feel  

happy and it has changed her life for the better. 

Nicole advises those that are experiencing the daunting journey of cancer to try and be as  optimistic as possible even when things seem to be getting out of hand, she urges those  individuals to take things one step at a time. Try not to think too far ahead it will just make you  crazy. Look after yourself, find a hobby or an interest that can distract you from your cancer do not  let it define you.  

Woman empowerment means a lot to Nicole and as a result of her own breast cancer  journey, she has gone on to meet people and be influenced, motivated, guided, and  inspired in an extremely positive way by some powerful and influential women. Nicole holds  her women empowerment beliefs by stating that When women support one another, great  things can happen.  

In April 2020 during the lockdown, Nicole launched her own Navigation, coaching, and  speaking business. She believes that there is a need for oncology patient navigation, and it  is her passion to combine navigation, survivorship, and the benefits of exercise for cancer  patients. She believes that as a cancer survivor it is vital to look after yourself by monitoring  your health, doing health check-ups, and follow-ups.  

Besides her very successful sporting career, her biggest achievements are the experiences,  the knowledge she has gained, the certifications she has worked so hard to achieve, the  incredible people she met on her Cancer journey, and being able to make a difference in  other people’s lives.  

Nicole is looking forward to 2021 where hopefully our world will get back to some form of  what we once knew as normal. Lockdown 2020 has certainly forced her to think outside of  the box by launching her own business and making many new connections. She has as so  far partnered with the ‘Filotimo Cancer project’ as well as the Cancer Association of South  Africa and both of these organizations helped her to develop her knowledge, skills and  offered further training and opportunity for her to continue making difference in the lives of  many cancer patients and survivors. She also hopes to get out more to promote her  personal navigation, coaching, and speaking business. She is far mostly looking forward to  writing her AONN oncology navigation generalist exam in either November 2020 or May  2021 in the USA.  

Nicole wants to leave behind a legacy where she touched and impacted many cancer  patients and survivors, a legacy of cancer awareness, support, education, advocate, motivation, and inspiration

By FYLTeam

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