Nikolas is one amazing teen. Despite his Cystic Fibrosis, he is a hockey player and all-around athlete, something that inspires younger CF patients. And he’s helping make miracles happen by helping fund the fight to cure CF.
Cystic Fibrosis is part of Nikolas’ everyday life. Diagnosed as an infant, he has never known life without CF. His parents say, “Our goal has always been to have Nikolas live a normal life. He just has to do a few things that the rest of us don’t do.”
And Nikolas’ friends are cool with that. They hang out with him while he does breathing treatments with The Vest® Airway Clearance System, playing video games or watching movies, so he never feels like he’s missing out.
Nikolas doesn’t let CF slow him down either, especially when he’s on skates, taking to the ice as goalie for his high school hockey team. Playing hockey gives Nikolas a reason to stay healthy, so he can keep up with his teammates and opponents. And The Vest® System helps keep his lungs clear so he never misses a game. “If I didn’t have The Vest® System, I don’t think hockey would be an option,” Nikolas says.
Playing hockey helps Nikolas inspire others with cystic fibrosis. Max is a young boy with CF who Nikolas met through a family friend. When Max was diagnosed at age 2, his parents were scared and worried. “When they came to watch me play hockey, I think it gave them hope that Max could play sports and be like any other kid,” says Nikolas. Now Max is playing hockey at the arena where Nikolas works as a coaching assistant.
Hockey is such a big part of Nikolas’ life, he’s using it to help find a cure for CF. For the annual CF gala each year, he has a hockey helmet designed to be auctioned off. Nikolas’ helmets are painted with a “65 roses” theme because when clinicians try to teach kids to pronounce “cystic fibrosis,” they tell them to pronounce it like “sixty-five roses.” These helmets have brought in thousands of dollars at the gala each year.
Nikolas’ personal helmet got an extra-special update this year — Nikolas’ grandmother is dying from cancer. One day she told his mom that when people tell her they are hoping for a miracle, she says, “I don’t wish miracles for me. I wish miracles for Nikolas.” When she relayed his grandmother’s words to Nikolas, he replied, “Miracles can come true, mom.” His mom said, “You know what Nikolas, you’re right, miracles can come true.” The back of Nikolas’ hockey helmet now sports a picture of his grandparents with the words “miracles can happen.”