In memoriam: Nicole van Leeuwen

“My sister would also like to join Inspire2Live, Peter”, Pascale said at one of her first meetings of our advocacy organisation. “Well, why don’t you bring her with you next time?” And so that’s what happened. Nicole joined Inspire2Live and it was at her first meeting that she said she wanted to do something to contribute, just being there wasn’t enough. She said it with a very stern look, so we immediately came up with the position of office manager, organiser of our events. And that was what she did until her last moments.

Our dear and beloved Nicole passed away on Friday June 14, 2024, and we are all in shock. We are all experiencing the severity of agonising pain caused by great sorrow. We knew that this moment would come and yet there was still hope that she would survive. Nicole herself was convinced that she would survive this terrible disease and fought with great strength and conviction. We admire her for this.

We admired Nicole from the very first moment she joined us. The way she organised our events: the annual congresses, the theme congresses, the Discovery Networks, they will never be the same. They will still be good and beautiful in the future, but they will never be the same.

She would look us in the eyes and simply say: “This is not the way we are going to do it. Let me handle this.” We knew one thing for sure; that she would indeed take care of it and that it would be good. It was her way.

We will continue our work as advocates in the way she wanted us to continue. And every time we feel resistance in our work for patients, every time we encounter hurdles and barriers or feel disappointed, we will think of this beautiful and unique lady, look into her stern eyes and know for sure; that we will never ever quit, because it is she who gives us the strength to persist.

Dear Nicole, we hope you have found peace. We know you didn’t want to leave us, that you didn’t want to say goodbye. Although not physically, you will be present at every Inspire2Live event. We will continue and overcome to honour you and love you and, most of all, we will always think of you with a big smile on our face.

Thank you for being the beautiful woman that you are.

The advocates of Inspire2Live

In memoriam Nicole van Leeuwen