Killer Rack: Raise Money to Battle Noelle Gray's Boobs
Organized by: Calley Nye
Calley Nye via Crowdrise
March 27, 2014
My best friend has terminal cancer. No one knows how long she'll be here, how many more jokes she'll be able tell, or how many more lives she'll be able to touch. If I could make her better, or live forever, I would, but I can't. What I can do, and what you can do, is raise money for her to pay for the best treatment imaginable, open up new possibilities, lighten her burden, and enable her and her husband to enjoy whatever time she has left.
THE WHOLE STORY:
Two years ago, at a comedy club in a shopping mall in Manchester, CT, I performed a set with 10 other comics. After the show, a beautiful woman in an adorable hat approached me, saying how great I was, and that it was so refreshing to see a woman brave enough to do comedy in her area. She asked for my card, I gladly gave it to her, not yet knowing that I had just met one of the best friends anyone could ever have.
Noelle came to more shows, invited me to her lovely home and started taking me out on "girl dates". I was a student and a stand-up comic, so needless to say, I was broke. Noelle would invite me out, I would start counting my dollars in my head, and before I could say anything she would so generously offer to treat me. We joked around, sang karaoke, told stories, had incredibly deep conversations about life and the world, and drank lots and lots of booze. We especially talked a lot about comedy: my experiences with it and how she had always wanted to try it.
This woman is inspiring in every way. She is not afraid of who she is, or what others think about her. She taught me so much about relationships and people. She would call me on my BS in such a way that was so kind, I couldn't possibly be mad. She told me all about how she battled breast cancer years before, and had a double mastectomy when she was 35. She was exactly who I needed to meet at that point in my life, because I was floundering and had no direction.
Every time we hung out, she would tell me a new joke she wrote, and every single time I would say, "That's great, now get up and tell it already!" Then, she finally got the nerve to start doing comedy. We started going to open mics, and at first it was me pushing her. It quickly turned into her pushing me to get out more.
Then, just weeks after her Five-Year Cancer-Free celebratory brunch, we were spending the day together, and Noelle told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer again. Her doctors had found tumors in her lungs, and she needed to start chemo. She lost her beautiful hair. She later learned she had been misdiagnosed and had gone through chemo and lost her hair for nothing. She then started hormone treatment that caused her to enter menopause early and plagued her with extreme hot flashes and a host of other debilitating symptoms. During this time, her prognosis was grim. She was given 6-12 months to live.
But Noelle is nothing if not stubborn. She didn't listen or shrink back to pity herself. She kept doing comedy. She would tell me a funny story about something that happened to her in chemo, and I would encourage her to get up and tell it. But she wasn't ready to talk about it on stage yet. I don't know if I ever would have been, but she got there. And she was amazing. She hates being called brave, but there's just no other word for it. (Sorry, Noelle!)
But the tumors in her lungs kept growing, so they wanted her to do a round of chemo and radiation. During treatment, they found multiple tumors in her brain. So they started radiation on her head, in addition to her lungs.
I would go see her at her house and she'd be so tired and physically drained; had mind-numbing headaches and her memory was shot. The doctors even told her she couldn't drive anymore. Yet, with the help of friends, she would still go do comedy. She even applied to comedy festivals months in advance, and would always say "I hope I'm still healthy enough to go."
She would call me and ask me to go to an open mic, and I'd say "No, I don't feel like it." She would then reply with "I am dying of cancer, and I'm going, what's your excuse?" She's shameless at pulling the cancer card. We once convinced a poor teenage cashier at the movies to give us the senior discount because "Senior citizens get discounts because they're going to die soon, and she's going to die soon, so..."
I moved to California in September. When we said goodbye, we were both afraid it'd be for the last time.
She started feeling well enough to travel in October, so she came to LA to visit. She told me that according to the most recent prognosis, she would probably not be healthy enough to travel in just a few months, so this could have been the last time. We had a blast, did some comedy, saw some friends and laughed a ton (as usual).
Then at the end of January 2014, she told me that things weren't looking so grim for the first time in a very long time. The doctors were shocked by how well she had responded to treatments and her tumors had shrunk. Things were finally looking up. The doctors believe she'll be around now for years, instead of months. All that stubbornness is paying off!
She's not out of the woods yet, but she has a chance now.
I've told my story, but I'm sure everyone who knows Noelle has their own story to tell. She's been generous to me and countless others, and has changed many people's lives for the better.
If Noelle's ever bought you a drink, or dinner... if she's ever made you dinner or drinks at her house... if she's ever made a bad day better... if her wisdom and support as ever made a difference in your life... if you've ever just realized that your life wouldn't have been the same if you hadn't met her.... give it back, now, when she needs it most.
She has done all those things without expecting anything in return, and she would never ask for it. I am. I'm asking because I want my friend to be happy and to be around as long as she possibly can.
Noelle and her husband Michal have a lot of medical expenses and I'm sure they'll accumulate more; there's natural/holistic treatments she could be doing that aren't covered by insurance; she could go on tour and share her story with so many others; and just be able to enjoy whatever time she has left with her husband, family and friends.
All of the proceeds will go directly to Noelle and Michal to spend in whatever way they want or need.
If you want to contribute but don't have money, and even if you do, please share on your Facebook page or through email. If you donate, please leave your favorite Noelle story in the comments section during the donate process.
Thanks so much!