The first time Michael Nichols learned he had cancer, he was shocked.
â€œI was terrified, you know,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve always heard cancer was a killer. That was my first thought.â€
Itâ€™s been eight years since Michael, a Lincolnton resident, was first diagnosed with leukemia, which eventually went into remission.
At the age of 31, however, cancer has struck again. Michael was hospitalized with severe pneumonia, only to learn he also had leukemia. This time his outlook is brighter.
â€œThereâ€™s so much medicine out these days that can really help,â€ he said.
The fact that his mother, Catherine Nichols, is organizing a bone marrow drive for him, also brings hope.
If he finds a matching donor, he has a better chance of a full recovery.
â€œI have a great feeling about this,â€ he said. â€œThis is my first bone marrow transplant, so obviously Iâ€™m a little nervous, but I think Iâ€™m going to be able to come out on top.â€
Michael and Catherine both attend Walls Memorial Baptist Church in Shelby, which is where the bone marrow drive will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. – noon.
The American Red Cross and Walls Memorial Health Ministry are co-sponsoring the event.
Michaelâ€™s friends, family and the general public have been invited to attend. If participants do not match as donors for Michael, they may for another patient.
â€œThere are a lot of people out there who need help,â€ Michael said.
A number of friends and family have already committed to attending, and Catherine says the mood will be upbeat. There will be no need for tears or pity.
â€œIâ€™m not going to let it be that way,â€ she said.
Instead, sheâ€™s going to spend the event â€œjust loving everybody.â€
If this bone marrow drive doesnâ€™t result in a match for Michael, sheâ€™s going to try again. The mother and son are very close, and thereâ€™s little Catherine wouldnâ€™t do for him.
â€œMy mom, sheâ€™s my heart,â€ Michael said. â€œEver since Iâ€™ve been going through this, sheâ€™s been at my side trying to get me the best care. I love her to death.â€
Michaelâ€™s girlfriend and pastor have also been a source of support.
And religion and spirituality have kept Michael and Catherine positive.
â€œMy faith is in God,â€ said Catherine. â€œIâ€™m really hoping that God is going to see him through.â€
Want to go? A bone marrow drive will be held at Walls Memorial Baptist Church, 2223 Elizabeth Ave., Shelby, from 9 a.m. – noon Saturday. Donations can be sent to Catherine Nichols at 480 Car Farm Road in Lincolnton. For more information call (704) 732-7291.
by Sarah Grano