Community comes together to help first responder battling cancer

New Mexico

A family of first responders are now the ones in need of some help, and the entire community is coming together to help a New Mexico mom fighting Leukemia.

“It is not easy to hear the words, you have cancer,” said Nicole Smith of Aztec.

The news wasn’t any easier to hear the second time around.

“I had just gotten to the point where I let it go and decided, you know, it wasn’t going to come back,” said Smith.

Five years ago, Smith first learned she had Leukemia as she brought her daughter into the world. 

“I was in labor and that’s when they diagnosed me the first time,” said Smith.

She was in remission for years, but earlier this year she learned her cancer is back.

“Nobody wants to hear it for the first time, let alone the second time,” said Smith.

Smith was an ER nurse for 15 years and her husband, Kenneth, is a Farmington Police officer.

“It’s been really difficult for me to be the receiver and not the helper,” said Smith.

Well, it appears all that help they’ve given strangers is now paying off. 

“It is kind of a karma thing,” said Smith.

Staci Zweschper is organizing a fundraiser for the Smith family. In just about a month, they’ve already raised nearly $9,000.

“I pretty much cry every time someone donates some money,” said Zweschper.

They didn’t fundraise the first time Smith was going through treatment. Back then she still had her job and health insurance – but after losing both this year, the Smiths needed help.

“As I saw it climb very very rapidly I was overwhelmed by the kindness,” said Smith.

Smith still has a fight ahead of her. She’ll be getting a bone marrow transplant in Phoenix this month and will need more chemotherapy. But, she is positive she’ll beat the disease again.

“I try not to sound cocky, but I’ve got this,” said Smith.

She feels especially strong because of the generosity of hundreds of strangers.

“There’s really nothing to say besides thank you, and thank you doesn’t even do it,” said Smith.

Smith says she lost her job at San Juan Medical Center because of a policy limiting the number of leave employees can take.

If you would like to donate to the fundraiser, click here.

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