“I live with CF, and treat it as just something I have—but I don’t allow it to define who I am as a person,” says Nick. “I manage my condition by keeping a positive attitude and being grateful for the gift of life.”
Of course there’s more to it. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.
“Every day I have to do chest physical therapy, take hundreds of pills, do aerosol therapy, meditate, try to take in enough calories to keep up my energy level—all while working full-time and running a real estate company,” says Nick.
“I surround myself with great people and have an amazing family that have always allowed me to be myself and make decisions on my own—whether they agreed with it or not. My parents taught me at an early age that I can’t control the outcome but I can control my attitude.”
“Nick kept his battle a secret from most of us until recently,” says Lisa Troyano-Ascolese, Gala Chairperson and Real Estate agent with Empire Realty. “Since then he has been much more open to letting some of us take the journey with him. When I first visited him in the hospital, I was blown away by the accommodations and level of care he was receiving. Cystic Fibrosis patients unfortunately find themselves in the hospital for long periods of time. The CF Care program makes this experience comfortable for them so they can focus on fighting the disease.”
“The aim of the gala is to raise as much money as possible while increasing awareness about the disease and celebrating Nick at the same time,” says Jane Estes, Broker at Empire Realty Group. “We decided to do it on our own, so that we could ensure the money went directly to the doctors who have been treating Nick for so many years.”
“All funds go directly to the CF Care program,” adds Lisa. “Every morsel you eat, every picture taken, every drink consumed is entirely donated. The structure of the event is such that we can keep our overhead low, so as much money as possible goes directly to the cause.”
“I can’t tell you how much I love my colleagues at Empire—they are just an amazing group of people. They are supportive and help me in ways they don’t even realize. They make me a better person on a daily basis while never looking at me differently. I’m so proud of them and honored to work with them side by side,” says Nick.
“I would love people to come and celebrate with us at the gala, raise a lot of money and awareness about Cystic Fibrosis,” he adds. “I hope by hearing my story or meeting me in person, people can better understand how precious and short life is. Tell the people in your life how you feel about them, live with passion and smile every day. Life is an amazing journey, be grateful for every breath—I know I am!”