On Thursday, April 12, 2012 Nyla began to experience severe stomach pain. She initially waived the pain off as indigestion or food poisoning. The next morning, she noticed that the pain had moved to the lower right quadrant of her stomach, where the appendix is located. Concerned, Ms. Blacknell began to look up the symptoms for appendicitis, and found the symptoms were exactly what she was experiencing. Nyla was immediately rushed to the hospital. A CAT scan later revealed that Nyla’s appendix had ruptured and an emergency surgery was performed the following day. Ms. Blacknell’s appendix had ruptured just prior to her making it to the hospital; she had made it just in the nick of time. The consummate professional she is, the first question Ms. Blacknell asked the doctor upon regaining consciousness from surgery was if she would be able to work on Monday. Much to her dismay, the answer was no. In fact; it would be six weeks before she would be able to return back to work.
Thirty-one year old Nyla Blacknell has always had a passion for dance. She began dancing at the tender age of 6. Dancing isn’t just something that she loves to do; it’s her livelihood; her bread and butter. She has translated her 25 year love affair with dance into a profession by teaching dance to others. Physically, Ms. Blacknell is a dynamo; she works out 3 to 5 days a week. She does it all: from yoga, kickboxing, step aerobics and her favorite Zumba! She also enjoys going to ballroom dance practice parties, and salsa socials. Nyla was well on her way to joining a professional ballroom performance group when the unthinkable happened.
After the surgery, she was unable to care for herself or even walk up and down the stairs for a few days. Thankfully, her family was able to step in and help. Nyla thought she was on the road to recovery. However, just 5 days after being released from the hospital, she had a follow-up appointment with her surgeon. It was during that follow-up appointment, that Nyla learned the news that would change her life forever: She had a malignant tumor on her colon. In fact, the reason for her appendix rupturing was because it was cancerous also. Ms. Blacknell’s doctor informed her that if the tumor were not removed immediately, it would spread and kill her. Now Nyla had fears to face, the reality that she had cancer and secondly she had no health insurance. How was she going to afford her life saving care? On May 3, 2012, Nyla underwent surgery to remove the tumor on her colon, she is currently recovering.
The Nancy Falco Fund is proud to announce Nyla Blacknell as its 2012 recipient.
(Photo by Mark Willis)