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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA student returns to class after bout with cancer

UA+student+returns+to+class+after+bout+with+cancer

A few months ago, Nick Palomares felt like a “stereotypical cancer patient — puking, bald, and miserable.” After being diagnosed with testicular cancer and having surgery to remove a tumor last year, he had gone into remission for more than six months. In April, he received an unexpected phone call from his doctor.

“I saw his [phone] number and I was like, ‘OK, this isn’t normal,’” said Palomares, a business management junior.

Further testing revealed that his cancer had returned and spread to his stomach and lungs. He dropped out of school and started chemotherapy a week later, which consisted of four, week-long rounds.

“I wouldn’t let it beat me,” he said. “I just took it in steps. It’s like, OK, what’s the next step that I got to do to get to the end … to my goal which is to be cancer-free.”

Fortunately, Palomares wasn’t alone in his fight. In addition to providing moral support, his friends and family raised money to help him pay his medical bills.

“People I’ve known since I was two to people I’ve never met before in my life donated,” he said.

Palomares’ cousin Christi Cisek organized a fundraising event called “A Day in the Park with Nick Palomares,” which included a silent auction of items donated by various entities in the Tucson community.

“Nick’s mom and I are like sisters, we’re very close, and when she called me and told me about Nick’s situation I just sprung into action,” Cisek said.

Palomares also received support from his fraternity brothers at Beta Theta Pi.

“The last thing we wanted him to worry about was financing [his treatment],” said Justin Folts, a retail and consumer science senior. “We wanted him to focus on just getting better.”

Brendan Snyder, UA and Beta alumnus, set up an online fundraiser. A group of Palomares’ friends from high school also raised money by hosting a run/walk in his honor.

The fundraisers brought in around $60,000 combined.

“It was awesome to see how everyone just came together,” Folts said.

On June 14, after enduring weeks of chemotherapy that rendered him physically weak and ill, Palomares was informed that the cancer cells that had accumulated near his stomach and lungs had been eradicated. That night, he summed up his excitement in a Facebook status.

“After sitting through over 70 [hours] of chemotherapy the past few months I am humbled, honored, and proud to say that there is zero detectable cancer cells in my body! CANCER FREE. Thank you to everyone who has shown and given so much support, couldn’t have done it without you,” the post said.

Palomares has re-enrolled is now back at the UA. He said he plans to finish his degree and apply to law school.

“It’s exciting to be back to normal life,” he said, adding that his hair is beginning to grow back and he is hanging out with his friends more.

Looking back on the experience, Palomares said that he is humbled by the outpouring of support he received.

“It’s exciting just to look back sometimes at how awful of a situation it was, but how much good came from it,” he said. “It really showed me how blessed I am with my family and friends.”

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