Nick Croce's story is both heart wrenching and inspirational, which is why we have decided to dedicate our 2011 Polar Bear Plunge to his fight against cancer. Please support our efforts to raise money for a cure and help raise awareness about Cholangiocarcinoma (a rare form of cancer) as we battle the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean on February 6th, on behalf of Nick's strength and resilience in his ongoing battle with this rare form of cancer.
Nick is courageous and has an incredible spirit, but what really allows him to fight strong is the support and inspiration from others around him. In this situation it might be hard to feel blessed but we are!; one certainty in this life we are sure of....the support of others is the best ammo anyone can have against a disease like this. Believe, have faith and give hope.
If you can, we would like to ask for a gift to our Polar Bear Plunge today, its a gift that will keep on giving. Your support helps fund new research and new treatments that bring hope to people affected by this rare cancer.
Remember, we are jumping into the icy Atlantic Ocean off the coast of NY in February to show our dedication to this cause! If that is not dedication to a cause, we do not know what is.
Please read Nick's story below and make a donation to support Nick's battle and the research to ultimately find a cure.
Thanks, and wish us luck in the plunge!
-Corinne Croce, Valerie Shivers & Mark Shivers
Note: Because of so many generous hearts, the donations from all of you have enabled us to reach even higher to support Nick's cause and raise awareness. We have been able to double our original goal and have doubled our fortitude to fight for a cure. Thanks to all for the support so far. Keep fighting!
"A trip to Australia that never happened changed my life."
Due to what I thought was a small fever at the time, I had scheduled a physical before my departure to what was suppossed to be an unforgettable trip to Australia. Instead that physical gave way to a rare cancer diagnosis and led me down a dark path no one ever saw coming. With no symptoms of note, I had no idea that within my body was an army of malignant cells vying for control. The attack began in the bile duct of my liver; it’s known as Cholangiocarcinoma (aka, Cholangio) - a rare and slow growing cancer that typically goes undetected until its effects are irreversible. Most people diagnosed with Cholangio are 65-70 years old and are often given just a few months to live. I am 38; a few months was not a prognosis I was willing to accept.
Cholangiocarcinoma affects 2 out of every 100,000 people. Contrast this to other cancers like prostate or breast cancers that affect roughly 152 and 119 people out of every 100,000, respectively. Cholangiocarcinoma is different than liver cancer; it is not directly related to cirrhosis, alcohol consumption or diseases like hepatitis. Rather, it starts inexplicably in one of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. It grows slowly within the body, but is often not detected until a very late stage when organ function is significantly compromised. The only chance of a cure is surgery, and the majority of tumors cannot be removed.
After learning I had cancer, I made an appointment at one of the most well known cancer hospitals in the U.S. Both the surgeon and oncologist there dismissed any chance of a recovery, leaving me hopeless and terrified as I tried to reconcile the news with the expectations I had for my life. I went around the country in search of some direction. An angel first came to me at the Mayo Clinic, when Dr. Asbun told me that he was willing to fight with me, then again at Columbia-Presbyterian, where I met Dr. Samstein who eventually saved my life. After a grueling 12-hour surgery that removed a large portion of my liver and all or part of four other organs, the healing began.
Today I am in chemotherapy and still have a long journey ahead of me. Although a successful entrepreneur, my career has taken the back seat as I focus on recovering. I am still mid-battle, but my outlook has changed and I am continuing to grow. I can appreciate the power that I have received from the love and support of those around me, gifted doctors that gave me hope, strangers that have reached out and offered guidance and support and the ongoing encouragement from everyone to persevere against the odds. Miracles do happen! Please believe with me.
- Nick Croce