Last night the Knolls Swim Team held their 4th annual Family Fun Day in Honor of Nick at Barney Road in Clifton Park. Nick was an avid swimmer. He was on the Knolls Team as well as the YMCA’s Barracudas. Nick took swim lessons since he was two and looked forward to giving back by becoming an instructor and lifeguard. I still can picture Nick being a mentor to little kids in the pool with them hanging on him like he would hang on his swim teachers’ backs. It made me wonder why he was taken away, when Nick showed so much goodness and had so much to give.
I was asked to speak to the swimmers and four years later there were many who didn’t know Nick or the foundation. I asked Emily Patchell, who knew Nick since she was two and swam with him, to tell a story, which encompassed Nick’s personality. She told how Nick tried to qualify for state championships and this swim meet was his last opportunity. He dove off the block with determination and swam like a fish. His time was great, but then he realized that instead of swimming the butterfly stroke he did freestyle. Emily thought he would be upset and she prepared to support him. He shrugged and laughed it off. Nick didn’t let what couldn’t be changed bother him. He tried his best and moved forward. That lighhearted attitude helped him during his cancer journey.
That story brought Nick to life for these kids who never met him. Holding memorial events and telling stories means the world to a family who misses their child every single day. That people remember Nick is healing. I am so grateful to Knolls Swim Team for continuing this tradition and hope Nick’s lesson of trying your best and being happy with who you are stays with them forever. Then I know he’s still doing good.