By Nyesha Stone
A two-time survivor, Maria Nieves is the definition of a fighter.
Nieves was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and then 10 years later in 2015.
It wasn’t until her daughter, who was four at the time, came to her and said “Mama, I don’t want you to die,” for Nieves to want to fight back. She’s now a volunteer and advocate.
It was 17 years ago, she was shopping at Kohl’s about to check out when she got the call, and all she could do was cry and think of the worst. “I’m going to die,” Nieves said.
She immediately called her brother, the youngest out of the boys, so he could tell the family because she didn’t have the strength to.
A few years before, her mother had died from stomach cancer, and she didn’t want to be the one to put her family through another tragedy.
By the time Nieves reached home, all her siblings were there. “We just sat in silence,” Nieves said. “What can be said?”
She was able to beat cancer for the first time, but that wasn’t the end of her troubles. One month before her ten-year anniversary she was diagnosed with cancer, but this time it spread to her neck. “I was ready to tackle it,” Nieves said.
She received multiple surgeries and this time she lost her hair.
“I embraced it,” she said. “This is what I’m going through.”
Nieves never let her baldness affect her because she knew she was more than her hair.
February of last year was when Nieves was officially cleared of cancer for the second time, and she considered herself “brand new all over again.”
She didn’t go through this alone. Nieves gave all the appreciation to her family, friends, resources and organizations who helped her fight this beast twice.
Nieves will be attending the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Milwaukee walk this Saturday on May 6. “I am not a one-person story,” Nieves said. “There are so many more going through what I’m going through.”
And this is why Nieves walks. She walks for herself, for others and to raise money for the fight against cancer.
The registration for the walk starts at 8 a.m. and the walk itself starts at 10 a.m. It’s a free walk that brings the community together for an important cause.
Nieves never thought she’d experience something as traumatic as cancer, but she did and she conquered it. Whenever Nieves meets someone who’s just been diagnosed, she gives them a little advice—be around positive people, take care of your health and try to stay happy, although that can’t always happen. She has had a long battle with cancer, but she doesn’t let that bring her down.
Nieves is a warrior. She wants the world to know she is not her cancer. And most importantly she thanks God for her strength.
“God is good, he is my rock, my foundation,” said Nieves.