Tag Archives: Carly Rose Nieves

‘Model’ kid turned her cancer into her cause


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

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Soon you’ll be seeing a lot more of Carly Rose Nieves.

The 16 year old from Middle Village, who her mom calls “not your typical teenager” will soon be emblazoned on the fleet of 75 vehicles for the New York Blood Center (NYBC).

Part of the NYBC’s “rebranding campaign,” Nieves, a freshman at Christ the King High School (CTK), was one of eight from the greater New York area who sat for a photo shoot on March 31.

“It was fun, they were such nice people,” said the teen, who admitted she was “a little bit nervous at first.”

What sets Nieves apart, said her mom, is her heart.

Battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven, Nieves received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then, at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL. The relapse placed her in the high-risk category, which required additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.

Now Nieves — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — has been out of treatment for a little over a year and is in remission.

Her focus is school — she plans to pursue American Sign Language in college, since it’s her favorite subject — and helping others, as it has always been.

“She’s living and loving life,” said mom Lisa Cangialosi-Horner. “She is so selfless, she’s just amazing.”

While Nieves was fighting her own battle, she was also working to help the friends she made in the hospital, others who are ill — and to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate blood.

“I feel like I’ve always wanted to help,” said Nieves. “But after relapsing you look at things differently, It’s sad that there are kids suffering and spending half their lives in the hospital.”

To that end, the family has organized numerous blood drives at CTK and has raised thousands for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically-ill children and their families.

“She helped us regain entry to Christ the King,” said Harvey Schaffler, executive director of donor marketing for NYBC. “Now we have blood drives there twice a year.”

“I’m very proud of Carly, she’s an amazingly strong young woman,” said Cangialosi-Horner. “She thinks of others before herself, and she’s always thinking and praying for her friends in the hospital.”

Schaffler explained that the new campaign has received “enormously positive feedback” so far because “what really resonates for donors is envisioning the people they help.”

So Nieves’ image, along with the others featured — set to roll out by the summer — will not only draw attention to her own fight, but to that of those still in need of help.

For Nieves, who turned her cancer into her cause, seeing herself on a moving vehicle may be a little daunting at first.

“I may feel like a celebrity, but I’ll still probaly be in shock,” she admitted.

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, which will be hosting a gala fundraiser on August 2 at the Inn at New Hyde Park, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.

Help give the gift of life


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Carly Rose Nieves will be turning 16 in January, but in lieu of a lavish Super Sweet 16 party most girls her age plan for years, she is putting all her efforts into saving lives.

The Middle Village teen has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven.

Carly received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL after three years. The relapse placed Carly in the high-risk category, which requires additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.
Because of her intensive treatment, Carly — who adores school and managed to graduate as an honor roll student in the 6th grade — had to miss many years of it.

Now Carly — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — is out of treatment and in remission. And after being out of school for three years, Carly is back as a freshman at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School and she is “loving every minute of it.”

“She’s doing awesome,” said her mother, Lisa. “She’s still very tired and weak, but that’s expected for the first year or so. But she manages every morning to get up and go to school. It’s just been a great experience for her because she can socialize now that she has an immune system.”

Now at school, Carly has a great following of friends and administrators who understand.

“There are kids that remember her from last year because she did a speech at their Thanksgiving Mass,” Lisa said. “All the kids in her classes, teachers, everyone at the school — they all seem to get along great. She has good and bad days because of the chemo, but the teachers really understand.”

Still, Carly has not forgotten the friends she made in the hospital and others that are still suffering, including one friend — of Italian and Chinese descent — who relapsed for the second time and has a hard time finding a bone marrow donor match because of her ethnicity.

That’s why Carly, her friends and family are holding another community blood and bone marrow drive for the second year in a row at Christ the King, and they need as many people as possible to donate on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those of Asian descent are particularly needed to match Carly’s friend, Lisa said.

“We need to find the positive in all of this, and this is the only way we could think of to try and help as many people as we can. It truly does save a life,” Lisa said, adding that one bag of blood can save three lives.

Last year, they collected 200 pints of blood, registered 54 people to be bone marrow donors and raised $3,000 for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically ill children and their families.

This year, they will have a few small raffles to continue raising money for Friends of Karen. Prizes include gift baskets and toy prizes that were donated, including a tricycle and a wooden fire engine.

But mainly, Lisa said, she wants to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate.

“Carly needed a lot of transfusions during her treatment. The last thing you ever want to hear as a patient or a parent is ‘We ran out.’ That happened to us once. It’s just very scary,” Lisa said. “You can save a life and a family’s life. It’s amazing what can be done from just swabbing your cheeks.”
Lisa explained that cancer patients may require frequent blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Red blood cell transfusions to fight anemia and platelet transfusions to control bleeding are often needed.

“Carly keeps that in mind all the time,” she said. “She tries to get everyone to be aware. We just want to tell people how easy it is to give the gift of life. What better time of year to do it than the holiday season? It’s better than giving money.”

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.
And to find out more about the blood drive, on Saturday, December 17 at Christ the King, 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, email lhorner67@gmail.com.