Marshmallow Mondays

Happy New Year!

Happy 2015, MM readers!

What a year we’ve had. New home, new puppy, new organs, new experiences, and new friends. 2014 was definitely a memorable one.

10671365_1459628137634380_6568619464564425453_nToday’s post is dedicated to one of our very special new friends, Nicole Nelson. You’ve read about her this year on my blog, as well as on our Match For Ryan Facebook Page.  Nicole was the first person to step forward and offer her kidney to Ryan before it was determined that he needed a kidney and a pancreas from a deceased donor. Nicole remained a strong supporter throughout Ryan’s transplant journey. She checked in with us often, always provided comedic relief when we needed it most, she talked to me on the phone during my hour drives to and from the hospital, she sent us care packages, all from 2,400 miles away.

Last week, those miles disappeared, as Nicole traveled to Kentucky to ring in the new year with us. When she stepped inside of our front door, it was like seeing an old friend. You wouldn’t have guessed that this was actually the first time that we met each other in person.

Nicole is, in person, just as she appears in her photos… happy, fun, energetic, silly, sincere, and full of life. She wears a smile at all times, and she loves to laugh. On New Year’s Eve, we made some food and watched the New Year’s Eve celebrations on tv.  It was an evening of great conversation and lots of laughs. This was the first time in years that Ryan and I have stayed awake until midnight.  What a treat to have a special guest to help us celebrate such a remarkable year, while ringing in a new beginning.

On New Year’s Day, Nicole and I ran in the Resolution Run 5 Miler at Coldstream Park.  It was really great to participate in something like this with her.  This race was held at the same location as Share Your Spare 5K, so it’s a place that already holds special meaning for us.



In attendance were close to 400 runners. It was really cool to know that each person chose to kick off the first day of 2015 with a five mile run. When I crossed the finish line, I received a text from Nicole saying that her hip was giving her problems. Despite the pain she was feeling, she still pushed out an impressive three miles. What was more impressive to me, though, was being reunited with her after she made her way back to the hotel where we waited for her. With a big smile on her face and tears rolling down her cheeks, she said “I don’t know why I’m crying. I’m just so happy.”

In that moment, I realized that it’s not always about crossing the finish line. It’s showing up for someone when they need you the most. It’s sharing an experience with them while recognizing that you can make a difference on the journey. Sometimes, just showing up for someone is the most significant thing you can do. Nicole chose to reach out to us months and months ago when we shared Ryan’s health needs on social media. She believed in us. She gave us strength. She gave us hope. She made us believe that there ARE good, caring people in this world who are willing to extend themselves to you when you’re in need. Nicole showed up for us, big time, and we love her for it.


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