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Nicole’s Story


Welcome to Nicole's site. Your prayers are needed and appreciated. Please check back for updates and please ask for prayers from everyone you know.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Nicole's medical fund. To find out how, please click on "my story" below.

Thank you.


On Saturday, August 30, 2008 Nicole was found unconscious in the alley behind her apartment building in Harlem (New York City). Her parents, Larry and Susan, were notified by a detective with the NYPD. What happened is a mystery. We know she was locked out of her fifth floor apartment and sent a text message to her roommate that went unanswered. One of her shoes was found on the roof of the building. Perhaps she was trying to figure out a way from the roof to her window. But things just don't add up. NYPD is investigating the whole ordeal as a crime. We don't know how long she laid in the alley unconscious. The super from her building was emptying trash around noon on Sat. and found her. Luckily, Harlem Hospital was just across the street.

Susan and Larry were not able to get a flight out of Jackson on Saturday. On Sunday Susan was on a 7 am flight and Larry's flight left soon after. Susan ran into lots of delays and did not get to the hospital until late Sunday evening. Josh Hailey, Nicole's boyfriend, arrived a couple of days later.

Nicole was transferred to New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Sunday night as that hospital was better equipped to handle the level of her injuries. All her ribs on one side of her body were broken, her lung was punctured and collapsed, her back was broken in two places (neck and lumbar spine) and her pelvis was fractured. She also had a bad laceration on her shoulder blade from falling on broken glass and a significant loss of blood. Some good news is that there were no injuries to her brain. The alley where she fell was dirt instead of concrete so that may have been one of the miracles that helped saved her life. At the time she arrived at NY Presbyterian, she could feel her legs, but couldn't move them. She was also unable to use her hands.

Less than 12 hours of arriving at NYP, Nicole had a 10-hour surgery to stablize her neck- first they went in through her throat and removed vertebrae that was crushed and pressing on her spinal column. It was replaced with an artificial device using mesh and lab-grown bone. A metal plate was then inserted to protect that and the incision was closed. In a second surgery, done at the same time, she was flipped over then they went in through the back of her neck and put in a couple of rods and pins. They have gave her medication that made her "medically paralyzed," in order to keep her very still so her neck could heal. The doctors did a second surgery (9 hours) on her lower back on September 11.

While at NYP, Nic was intubated with a ventilator for two and a half weeks. She had a bout of pneumonia and a series of mini-strokes that have caused her left side to be weak.

After over 3 1/2 weeks in the Neuro ICU at NYP, Nic was airlifted to Jackson and spent another 3 1/2 weeks at Select Specialty Hospital. From there, she was transferred to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center on October 20. On January 7, Nicole was discharged and, as she promised, walked out of Methodist Rehab on the arm of Josh. She is home now, and going to outpatient therapy several days a week.

The daily journal is written by Nic's mother, Susan, as a way to chronicle her recovery. Please continue to keep Nicole in your prayers and leave messages for her on this site so she will have something to look forward to. We've felt your prayers, and are so grateful for them all.

To contribute to Nicole's medical fund, log on to The fundraising events are over, but you can still donate on the site. It will appear as "Pay Pal" on your credit card bill. The Marquez family will be notified via email of your donation. ~OR~ you may go to any Trustmark Bank branch and make a deposit to the Nicole Marquez Medical Fund account. Please tell the teller that you'd like the Marquez family to be notified of your donation.

We thank God for sparing our Nicole, and for her miraculous recovery. He is glorified through Nicole, and we pray that she will be an inspiration to all who know her or read her story. We also pray that God blesses all who read this.

Latest Journal Update

Happy Anniversary!

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Nicole's accident. It's hard to believe that five years have passed. Each and every day has held a special blessing as Nicole progresses. 

Here's a little update on her situation:
Physically, she's doing great. She's WALKING,  which in itself is as much a miracle as her being alive considering the level and severity of Nicole's spinal cord injuries. She still has challenges, such as her right knee hyperextending. She's been wearing a DonJoy brace on her leg, and we are so grateful that she now has a Bioness unit for her leg that helps tremendously with her gait and balance. 

Her hands are her biggest issue, yet, for her her level of injury, the use that she does have is amazing. She has minimal pinch and grip in her right hand, and she has some flexion in her left wrist. Again, we are thankful she has the Bioness units that are strengthening her forearm muscles, which in turn help with her hand function.

The good news is there are scientific and medical breakthroughs all the time, so who knows what the future will hold?

Nicole has established herself as a sought-after motivational speaker, traveling around the country and speaking to groups of all ages and sizes, from schools, churches and civic clubs to large (2000+ people) conferences. You can book her for your next event at

For the past year and a half, Nicole has traveled to New Orleans and back frequently, where she has been doing "extra" work in films and television shows. She was a regular extra on HBO's "Treme" and has been in several feature films. While there, she met her boyfriend, who works in the film industry. 

Our entire family has been on this journey that started August 30 2008. We are eternally grateful to the many people we have met along the way who have made such a difference in our lives. We've made great friends, and we've been touched by endless gestures of generosity. Our lives will never be the same. 

Thank you for your unceasing prayers. It is to God we give all the glory, and we are humbled that we have been chosen to witness a miracle with our Nicole. 

May God bless all who read this!
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1 Comment

Arleen Santos
By Arleen Santos, RN
Hi Nicole:
I just want to say "Way to GO!". I am a Registered Nurse taking a preceptorship class online, came across the documentary from PBS and was so impressed by how much you had improved. Successful stores like yours is what keeps nurses like me wanting to advocate and help care for their patients. Thank you for reminding me why I want to be a nurse.