NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A local teacher is in the fight of her life against breast cancer. She learned of her illness while pregnant with twins.
Nicole Conlisk loves her students. She’s been a math teacher in the Bronx for years and was so excited about being pregnant with twin girls. At seven months in however, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and immediately started chemotherapy.
“I was shocked. I didn’t expect it at all. I was healthy, I’m young,” Conlisk said.
She is just 33-years-old and, while being treated for cancer, gave birth to Peyton and Jordyn 11 weeks ago.
“I thank them because I feel like they gave me the strength to make it through those last two months before they were born.”
Nicole’s husband is a New York City fire captain and says his wife has always been incredibly strong, even when he saw her right after her diagnosis.
“I walk through the door and the first thing she tells me is ‘I love you and everything’s going to be fine.’” Jason Conlisk said.
Nicole had to leave her job when she got sick, but says her students are constantly checking up on her.
“They keep email and texting me when are you going to come back? Are you going to come back before the end of the year?”
A fellow teacher sent Nicole information on a contest with Norwegian Cruise Lines, where 15 teachers could win a free week-long cruise for two.
“I was like ‘oh my gosh I’m going to apply see what happens…’ I’ve never won anything in my life.”
Teachers from all over the country and Canada are signing up for the contest sharing their different stories. The public gets to vote online and the top 15 get to go. One winner will also get $15,000 for their school.
“I would be elated. I would be so excited. My bags would be packed a couple of hours later. I’d be ready to go.”
But for now, the family is celebrating the twins with their big brother Jason – trying to help out.
“I rub her head until she stops crying,” the toddler said.
Nicole says she’s grateful for everything. She still has surgery and months of chemo and radiation ahead, but hopes to be back at school later this year.