Nicole has broad shoulders and thick legs because she enjoys weightlifting, crossfit and strongman competitions. Early this year she was introduced to mas-wrestling, a sport most Americans have probably never heard of or seen.
In just a few months competing around the US, Nicole earned a spot on team USA for the World Cup. Despite she had to face women bigger than her in competition.
Some might be surprised by her appearance, but she shaved her head not to look tough. On May 24th, she was diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy treatments began Memorial Day, May 29th. Each round is one intravenous bag for seven days then a 21-day rest period. Nicole lost her hair, but kept training through the sickness and fatigue.
«On the days that it’s really bad, I’m really polite and I train outside so when I puke on stuff they can spray it off and it’s not here in the gym”, said Higham. “That’s how we work it out», - Nicole says.
Though Higham has lost much of her cardio conditioning during the chemotherapy, she can handle deadlift and squats to build strength. Fortunately, mas-wrestling matches usually last an average 30 seconds.
«I’m not ok with what I haven’t done yet», said Higham. «There’s just so much more that I always thought I would do. That reality check that tomorrow isn’t promised, there was no way I could stop for this».
The cancer is 90% gone, but she had chemo treatments every day before she left for Hungary for the Mas-Wrestling World Cup.
«To know that people look at me and know they don’t have to give up in the midst of hardship is a really cool responsibility to have. But mostly It’s not wanting to stop living my life».
«The World Cup in Hungary was by far the most amazing experience of my life! There’s not enough words to describe how much it meant to be there competing and representing the US! I couldn’t be more proud of how the team did or of myself, at the end of the weekend I knew we had given it everything we had!
To our coach Chad Clark! We would have been lost without you! You dealt with injuries, tears, wins and losses and you took it all with grace! The proudest moment for me this whole trip was after the win seeing the pride in your eyes at what we had accomplished. You vouched for us and we did this as much for you as for ourselves! I love you all and can’t wait to do it again as soon as we can!»
This weekend I heard the words «hero» and «superwoman» a lot, because of the whole competing while sick thing, and I want people to understand something: I’m super proud of what I have been able to accomplish, don’t get me wrong. However the only reason I can do what I do is because of who I’m surrounded by. I have the most incredible support system and it’s literally impossible to be down when I have you all around me! YOU all are my heroes, my shoulders to lean on, my lights in the darkness. It means the absolute world to me to have each and every one of you in my corner. I couldn’t do this without YOU! You all have taken better care of me the last few months than I could have taken care of myself! You’re there for me, shaving your heads for me, praying for me, presenting me with opportunities to compete, you’ve literally created an environment where I can thrive and be happy and successful during this time! I love you all, at this point you’re all family to me! Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me» Nicole says on her Facebook after the competition.
In Hungary, Nicole Higham took the honorable third place. But for all of us she is the real winner. On returning home, she will continue to fight for her future - Nicole faces one more round of chemotherapy. She very much hopes her last.