Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paramus Teen Remembered as a Fighter

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paramus Teen Remembered as a Fighter

Article excerpt

Nicole Minson had a smile that lit up a room, and always put others' interests before her own. That's why, her friends and teachers say, anyone who knew her was better for it.

Minson, a 17-year-old Paramus Catholic senior, died last week after a years-long battle with cancer.

Paramus Catholic officials announced Minson's untimely death on Friday night.

The news quickly shot through the tight-knit community: Friends took to social media to offer their condolences; a peer set up a GoFundMe page with proceeds going to Hope & Heroes; the school dance team organized a tribute among teammates and alumni; and the high school will host a candlelight vigil next week.

Those who knew Minson say the outpouring is a testament to the person she was.

Minson was "young, beautiful, and angelic," said Stephanie Macaluso, principal at Paramus Catholic. She acknowledged it took a special kind of strength not only to fight cancer, but to do so while maintaining high academics and a positive outlook on life.

"She had such a big heart, and was strong through all this. She was a gleam of sunshine whenever she walked into a room," said Macaluso. "She would be consoling her friends and family, giving them support and giving them the spiritual guidance through all of this."

The teen was diagnosed with cancer right before entering her sophomore year, her teachers said. She beat cancer once – and while in remission she gave a powerful speech at the school's Relay For Life. Then the sickness came back.

"We applied to Pace even though she was still really sick in October. She set a goal, and reached it," said Lauren Daniell, her guidance counselor and the school's dean of guidance. "She pulled on through. Never complained. Never was disappointed. Never asked — why me?"

Minson was devoted to the Paramus Catholic Dance Team – dancing varsity all four years – and a fixture in the high school's annual Paladin Palooza talent show for three years. Minson was especially good at hip-hop, said her coach, Danielle Moore. Despite her small stature – her teammates called her "Mini Nikki" – Minson stole the show whenever she was onstage.

Even after her diagnosis, Moore said, "She would just live as if nothing was wrong, which speaks volumes to who she was. …

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