Student Mentors

Nicole Matthews

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Nicole is 24 years old, works full time at West Herr Automotive group and loves being able to work. Living her life as if she has no illnesses is her biggest accomplishment. She is a self-published author of her book, The Abnormal Nicole.

Tell us about the early stages of your life and its influence on who you are today.
When I was 22 months old I was diagnosed with the terminal illness Cystic Fibrosis. I had to deal with teachers, peers, and anyone else who looked at me different because of my disease. Because of that I learned to be a strong, inspiring woman. Through out the years of growing up I was diagnosed with many other illnesses or as I call them hurdles. Scoliosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Dermatitis Herpetiformis (Gluten Allergy), major sinusitis and a few other minor problems. But with all these problems I learned to give back to the world and live each day to it’s very fullest.

How did you achieve success ?
I learned to deal with my problems a lot different than other children and adults. From day one I was always very strong willed and kind hearted, I had a very high tolerance for pain. My parents made sure I lived everyday to it’s very fullest, whether it was going camping as a family, joining Pioneer Girls, vacation Bible School, ice skating, four wheeling, anything to keep me active and “normal”. With Cystic Fibrosis you do not know what the next day brings, so that is why I lived everyday to the extreme fullest, no matter what. And to always stay positive, because I know it could be worse. I live by a quote I wrote “Life is like a rose, there are thorns, but it is still beautiful”. Due to all of my life obstacles and hurdles, I wrote an inspirational book called “The Abnormal Nicole”. I may have all these problems and issues but I learn to look forward in life and to cherish everything. I volunteer with  Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Company in Orchard Park, NY. I also volunteer with SABAH, Gliding stars (ice skating programs for handicap children and adults), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and I am always willing to lend a helping hand. Life itself is inspirational, you are living and breathing so make the best of it. Another one of my quotes from my book is “Life doesn’t matter with every breath, it’s the breath you take that matters to your life, when you breathe you live, when you truly live you breathe deep.”

What was your greatest obstacle?
My greatest obstacles would have to be my CF, and my Gluten Allergy. When I was born my doctors rarely saw people like me live past 20 years old, I am now 24 years old; working full time and volunteering like crazy. I always tried staying positive in every aspect, I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. I have my health problems because God knows I am strong enough to survive them, and over come them. With my Gluten allergy I thought my world was over, I was diagnosed with that at 21 years old, but with the help of loved ones and the support from friends I overcame that and I know what to eat and how to eat right.

As a mentor what advice would you give to others wishing to achieve your level of success?
I would have to say don’t let the little things in life get you down. You are breathing and you are living. Things may be crazy or not right for a bit, but in the end everything works out for the best. You may think your life is horrible, but the person right next to you might have a much worse life than you do, so do not judge, do not compare, but simply live. And always remember

“Life is like a rose, there are thorns but it is still beautiful” ~Nicole Matthews

How important is it to have the right mindset ?
It is important because it helps you be positive to help others, because in actuality they are truly helping you become a better person, and teaching you how to live

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