A Wonderful Friendship
Faith had a number of special friends in her short life. I would like to tell a short story concerning one of them: Nicole Pustorino. Although she lives just around the corner, Faith did not begin to play with Nicole until the summer of 2001, after our return from Duke University Medical Center. The two girls were a perfect match: happy, carefree and playful. They quickly became best friends.
Throughout Faith's illness, Nicole was the one child that Faith always wanted around her. Faith kept two phone numbers taped to the wall beside her bed: Nana's (Marilyn's mother) and Nicole's. No matter what the situation, Nicole was always there to support her friend. When Faith was unable to go out on the playground at school, Nicole would stay in with her to color or play games. When Faith could no longer walk, Nicole would play quiet games with Faith or accompany us when I took Faith out in her wheelchair. Whatever happened to Faith, Nicole did not give up on her friend.
Through all of Faith's physical changes, Nicole never lost sight of her love for Faith. I remember one of Nicole's visits in particular. At that stage, Faith had multiple physical disabilities. She could not speak; she was wheelchair bound; she could no longer use her right arm; and she had considerable problem swallowing, causing her to drool quite a bit. In addition, she had lost much of her hair due to the Vincristin chemotherapy. None of this mattered to Nicole — she was simply happy to be with Faith. We played Bingo that afternoon. Whenever Faith began to drool, Nicole would simply take a cloth and wipe her face. When Faith couldn't place markers on her bingo card, Nicole would reach over and help her. If Faith dropped something on the floor, Nicole would pick it up for her. At one point, Nicole looked at Faith and asked innocently, "Did you get a haircut?" I almost cried at that moment, to witness such a pure and wonderful friendship.