Nicole Puglisi is a hardworking and ambitious adult Warrior, whose DIPG diagnosis in January 2016 at the age of 22 came as a shock. After being involved in a car accident, Nicole sustained injuries to her neck which required an MRI. It was from this MRI that Nicole’s doctors discovered the tumor in her brainstem. Having no symptoms prior to the discovery, Nicole didn’t understand why this was happening to her, describing the feeling as though she was in a room on fire and could not escape. When the specialists confirmed that the tumor discovered was DIPG, she could not process what was happening, as it was not part of her plan.
Nicole has described being affected by DIPG as “both for the better and for the worse”. While she has experienced side effects from her treatments, Nicole feels as though DIPG has given her a purpose. Whether she advocates, raises money, funds research, or helps families, Nicole believes she was diagnosed with DIPG to help others. DIPG has given Nicole drive and motivation, although it has been difficult for her to plan for the future. Nicole made it a goal of hers to graduate from college, as she thought she didn’t have much time left and wanted to accomplish something big. Amidst her symptoms and treatments, Nicole was successful and walked the stage at graduation.
Whether or not she planned to be, Nicole is a member of the DIPG community, and has made friendships and connections that have helped her throughout her battle. Nicole discovered the Cristian Rivera Foundation through CRF Warrior, Maria Kuenster. Nicole met Maria while attending a DIPG symposium. Maria told Nicole about the Cristian Rivera Foundation and was able to help Nicole make another connection in the community. The DIPG community is a source of hope for Nicole, and she loves seeing others strive to raise awareness. Nicole wishes that more people knew about DIPG and that there is no cure, which has led to her using her story to be an advocate for those impacted by DIPG. Although it is a tough battle, Nicole would encourage others with DIPG not to give up. The DIPG community has supported Nicole, and she suggests that others battling DIPG get connected with the community like she did. Nicole knows how difficult the fight is, but she also knows that the pain won’t last forever.
DIPG has given Nicole a new lease on life. Nicole loves being near the water, and dreams of living near water someday. She loves being active through yoga, walking, and going outside. Nicole has a special interest in psychology and the brain, and also has a passion for advocating for groups such as the homeless population. Nicole strives to live each day to the fullest and use her experience with DIPG to help others.