Nina was an outgoing and athletic 16-year-old girl, who had just gotten her driver’s license. She had a fierce passion for cheerleading, and gymnastics, and life in general. She had a fantastic sense of humor that paired well with her infectious laugh and bubbly personality. She excelled at everything she did and was well loved by her peers for her humble and gracious nature. She enjoyed her close-knit family, especially her sister, Cara, who was her other half, the “Anna” to her “Elsa.” They truly loved one another and would do absolutely anything for each other. Above all, Nina was beautiful from the inside out. She was kind and generous, embarking on mission trips with her church group, and, as her family learned after her passing, she helped people, even when no one was watching; she was a good Christian.
A week before Thanksgiving in 2013, Nina visited the doctor after she began suffering from severe headaches while performing cheerleading routines with her high school cheer squad. She was sent to Yale New Haven Hospital for an MRI, which revealed a mass on her brainstem, more specifically, DIPG, a fast-growing and inoperable form of brain cancer. Nina immediately began a treatment protocol, including multiple rounds of radiation, but she was determined not to let it affect her cheerleading career. She continued cheering and was selected to the All-State Cheer Team and helped her squad win the State Championship title. She was so strong throughout her fight, had incredible faith, and never once complained. She participated in a trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering in April 2014, undergoing brain surgery. As summer came, Nina’s honeymoon period granted by the radiation ended and she began losing various abilities. Her family watched in horror as she lost her ability to swallow, walk and even talk.
She spent the last months at home surrounded by family and friends, and passed away surrounded by her loving family on November 1, 2014, All Saint’s Day, at the age of 17. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and her legacy remains a light among her community, who supported her and her family so tremendously throughout their entire ordeal and continue to support her family in their indescribable loss to this very day.
"While it is unfortunately too late for Nina, funding for pediatric brain cancer research can help the millions of other children and their families, going through what Nina and her family did, win their battles against horrific cancers like DIPG." - The Poeta Family
Thank you for choosing to donate to The Cure Starts Now Foundation. 100% of this donation, after credit card processing fees, goes directly towards research to find the homerun cure for cancer starting with pediatric brain cancer research.
If you would like to make a donation by mail please send a check to: The Cure Starts Now Foundation; 10280 Chester Road; Cincinnati, OH 45215 and put the child's name in the memo.
The family receives notification of all donations made to this tribute fund automatically.