When I was visiting Holly Baker, HGTV’s newest host of the pilot episodes, Big Easy Reno, I received devastating news. My friend and fellow store owner, Nina Lukenich found out she had incurable bone cancer. I felt like someone had just punched me in the gut. I gasped and let out a silent scream. How was this possible?! How could this be true?!
I had just seen Nina a few weeks before at the new store location. She was full of life, laughter, and creative ideas! We were just joking about setting up our shop spaces next to one another. I remember heading home that night saying, “I could definitely see myself becoming close friends with Nina. She and I are a lot alike.” I had planned on reaching out to her about hanging out after I got back from both TV sets.
Two weeks before I left on my trip, Nina found out she had breast cancer. I was devastated and praying my heart out. Just a day before my trip, she was at the shop joking about rocking wigs during chemo. One of the store owners was giving her a pep talk about how Nina was the best advocate for herself and to fight hard! Nina was doing the best to keep her spirits up while facing down the worst diagnosis.
And now…now she was told just two weeks after her original diagnosis, that she had incurable bone cancer. The cancer metastasized and spread to her hips, spine, and other bones throughout her body. Nina is only 34!!!! She’s married to an incredible guy and has a 6 year old son. How is this happening? Why?! Cancer is cruel and doesn’t care who it preys on.
Nina is currently battling for her life. She is fighting hard! She just completed her second round of chemo. Nina is the bravest woman I know. She is fierce and passionate and determined to live as long as she can.
Nina’s struggle physically, mentally, and financially is real. She shared with me yesterday that her medical bills are piling up, but she won’t quit. Every three weeks she has to pay $3000 out of pocket for the chemo medicine, and then pay for her co pay, prescriptions, parking, gas to and from the hospital, and still pay her $10,000 deductible. She didn’t share this to beg people to pity her. She humbly shared it with a friend.
Cancer robs you of so much while the pharmaceutical company becomes richer every minute. It’s disgusting. It’s not fair. Nina announced the day she found out she had breast cancer that she and her husband were debt free! They worked so hard to get themselves out of debt, all while eating PB and J sandwiches and now this.
My heart breaks for her and her family. I’m inspired by her will to live, her passion to fight, her outlook on life, her humility, her choice to keep the faith, to hope, to be positive. I’m thankful that I have the privilege to walk along side of her for her on this journey.
Life is short. For some, shorter than others.
What we do with our time on earth, the relationships we build with others, and our faith is all that matters. It’s put so much in prospective for me.
I try to inspire people daily with how I live and then on the flip side, with how to decorate. Nina inspires me on a personal and spiritual level and I think she would do the same for you. If you’d like to follow Nina on the fight of her life, you can “like” her FB page, My Battle with Cancer. Nina updates daily on her fight and adds some pretty funny stories along the way. If you would like to donate any monetary amount towards her mounting medical bills you can do so at, Nina’s Breast Cancer Battle Fund.
Life is short, let’s make it count.