Sunday, July 10, 2011

Nicole Ayers: Easy Rider

Nicole and her boyfriend.
I've been procrastinating lately.  I'm home for a couple more days, after bicycling from Maine to Cincinnati, and I have several young type-1 diabetics I'd like to profile. 

Today, it was my great pleasure to speak to Nicole Ayers, a brand new graduate of Loveland High School, Class of 2011.  I first met Nicole when she was in seventh grade and rode in her name, among others, when I did my first ride across the United States in 2007, to raise money to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

Nicole is not your "typical girl" and I mean that as a compliment.  First, Nicole likes to go deer hunting with her dad; and most Friday nights you can find her on the skeet range, practicing her shooting.  I asked her how many targets she could hit and she laughed and said, "I once hit 99 out of 100, but that was on a good day."

Nicole laughs a lot, by the way, which is part of her endearing personality.  She may be a diabetic but she refuses to let that get her down.  Senior year she got a jump on her college career and took classes at the Clermont branch of the University of Cincinnati.  What are you planning on studying next, I inquired.  "Nursing," Nicole laughed again.  Why, I wondered.  "The nurses at Children's Hospital were so great, I just want to help people the way they helped me."

With Ms. Ayers, who has a big heart anyway, you kind of knew that answer was coming.  So she'll be enrolled in a nursing program at the Galen School of Nursing, which is located here in Cincinnati, starting next fall.

Nicole is ready to ride.
What else has this young lady been up to lately?  She's babysitting three days a week to bring in some much-needed tuition money.  She's also practicing riding her motorcycle so she can get her license.  Her dad made sure she got a Susuzki Savage 650 (nicknamed "Leroy") to cruise around on as kind of a graduation present.  Nicole goes to Kings Island a lot, goes to the Loveland Christian Church every Sunday, as she has all during her life, and hangs out with her older sister, Danielle, 21, and her long-time boyfriend, John Hughes.  She met him at the shooting range where she was shooting and he was working, two-and-a-half years ago. 

I backed up a little and asked Nicole to tell me what she liked best about hunting with her father.  Sometimes she says they'll be sitting in the blind, waiting for animals, and "if it get's boring he'll make a joke or if I miss a shot he says it's 'okay,' and we'll get it next time."  Then she laughs again and says, "I'm like his boy...the boy he never had."

She's a good one.

I asked Nicole, for the heck of it, to describe herself.  She said "funny, at least I try to be funny," "roll with the punches," "live your life to the fullest."

I had Danielle offer some big sister insight.  She said Nicole was "funny," "crazy," "LOUD," "a good sister," and "always has a good time."

I think you get the idea.

When I talked to the two young ladies, they had just arrived for a visit with their grandparents down near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Nicole mentioned they were camping, then corrected herself and said, "Well, we're staying with them in their mobile home, so I guess it's not really camping."  Go carts and miniature golf are on the schedule.

The Ayers family:
dad, John Hughes, mom, Nicole, Danielle
I've mentioned this before on this blog, but talking to these kids is inspiring.  Nicole is living her life to the fullest, and doing it without ever losing her smile.  I finished by asking her, if they found a cure, how would her life be different?  With yet another laugh, she admitted, "It would be so much more chill, like a teenager's life should be, just being  able to do what you want without worrying about going high or low.  Like yesterday, I was playing softball [for her church team] and I checked my blood before the game and it was 68, so I ate a bunch of Skittles."

Unfortunately, Nicole had a little too much candy and the nerves of playing and heat made her feel a little queasy and she says she told teammates "I think I'm going to throw up a rainbow."

I'm sure the other players appreciated Nicole's sense of humor; but I suspect they still took a couple of steps backwards.

Nicole?  She's a type-1 diabetic.  But she's not taking any steps backwards.  She's not feeling sorry for herself.  She's going forward to a bright future.  Someday, in years to come, if you see Nurse Ayers walking into your room, you can bet you're going to be in good hands; and she'll be wearing a smile.

When I'm old, I hope she ends up as my nurse.

Being a diabetic doesn't slow Nicole down.

If you would like to donate to help find a cure for type-1 diabetes please click HERE

(This single click takes you to my fund-raising page.  There, click again on "donate to this event."  Then click "Biking and Painting for Diabetes."


  1. Glad you got to speak with my cousin there Mr.Viall shes got a good head on her shoulders and a great family to back her up and everything she does..good post keep it up.

  2. John: Thoughtful and informative post about your friend Nicole; but, as to your closing comment about "when you are old, you hope she is your nurse" - hate to tell you, but you entered the "old threshold" a few years back! Tim.