With Cancer, It’s Never Really ‘Over’

We’re officially in Film Festival Mode at Joedance! It’s hard to believe that we’re turning 10 this year. That means it’s been almost been 10 years since we lost Joe.

Ten years is a decade which sounds like a long time. But, for those affected by cancer and its devastation, you know that the pain is never really over. Perhaps no one understands this feeling better than our social media marketing manager, Nicole Orban.

Much like Joe, Nicole was diagnosed with a rare cancer at the age of 20 (just 30 days before her 21st birthday). The diagnosis was a shock to this active and healthy college student on the Dance Team. The blister on her tongue that she kept putting off as a sore or irritation was actually Stage III cancer.

When you’re 20, you don’t worry about cancer too much until it happens to you.

It uprooted her life as cancer often does…

It moved her family from a small town in Pennsylvania to Manhattan for treatment…

It took away her ability to taste or swallow…

she was left with an ear-to-ear scar across her neck…

she lost 75% of her tongue and 100% of her health and happiness.


But fortunately, for Nicole, she won her battle with the disease. Though she battles the long-term effects of radiation every day, she’s adjusted to her new normal as best as anyone could. She’s now a mother of 4 and has a clean bill of health. And, even though this is all great news, Nicole will be the first to tell you that cancer is never really over. 

Nicole’s cancer happened 11 years ago so our 10th anniversary really hits home with her. She volunteers her time to run social media at the film festival because she knows that the battle against cancer isn’t over.

She knows what Joe went through even though they never meant. She understands what it’s like to be robbed of the time of your life that is meant for making memories with friends, traveling the world, and bar hopping. She understands what it was like to battle cancer at this young stage of life and she’s determined to help make a difference in honor of Joe.

If you see Nicole at the film festival, know that she’s there fighting silently as part of the Joedance Team until cancer is really over.

DianeWith Cancer, It’s Never Really ‘Over’
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