It was Thursday. A beautiful spring day. I woke up for school and my mom drove me to the bus stop.
So begins I Hope Nobody Sees Me, Memoirs of a teenage stroke survivor (2013, First Edition Design Publishing). The author, Nicolas Sully, is a second semester student at QCC, majoring in Health Sciences.
“My sneaker weighed a thousand pounds when I tried to take it off,” said a soft-spoken Nicolas, who was 13 when his stroke occurred in the gym locker room at Roy H. Mann Junior High School in Brooklyn.
In the weeks afterward—from May until early July, 2008—Nicolas was treated at Brookdale,Coney Island and Maimonides hospitals. Throughout the tests and painful procedures, his family stayed by his bedside.
When Nicolas was finally released, his outpatient therapy continued for two years at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. During that time, he struggled with other challenges as he made the transition to William H. Grady Career and Technical High School. “My doctors recommended special accommodations but I didn’t want that—I wanted to be like everyone else, so I took the stairs and didn’t use a doctor’s note, even when I was late for class.”
In 2010, Nicolas moved from Brooklyn to Elmont, Long Island where he attended Elmont Memorial High School. There he began to thrive academically and, in his senior year, received numerous scholarships for demonstrating leadership qualities and scholarly achievement. He also developed a passion for reading that helped inspire him to begin writing his memoir.
Upon graduation from high school, Nicolas decided to enroll at Queensborough because of “the good things I’d heard from guidance counselors and learned on-line.” His area of study is the result of his positive relationships with his caregivers.
In addition to his science-related courses such as anatomy and physiology, he is taking an elective class is sociology.
“When Nicolas first introduced himself to members of my partially-online section of “Introduction to Sociology,” he drew our attention to a Newsday article that described his stroke experience,” said Dr. Amy Traver, Social Sciences. “Since then, he has brought even more attention to his story through the publication of the book. All of this is part of Nicolas’ larger plan – to connect with others who have had similar experiences, to educate those who haven’t, and to help all through a career in the health sciences. From my perspective, Nicolas shows the commitment and drive to accomplish these goals – and more!”
While exploring the campus one day, Nicolas visited the interactive exhibits at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives. He listened empathetically as survivors told their stories. He said, “I learned that no matter what you go through, you can still get joy out of life and achieve great things.”
Nicolas plans to continue his education and aspires to one day become a doctor. Still, he wants to use the power of the pen to “be a voice for the quiet ones.”