BOISE -- Nicole Cassity was just 23 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was a devastating blow to the young wife and mother. But Nicole wasn't about to give up.

She decided she would face breast cancer head on, and fight like a girl. Not only to beat cancer, but to help other women going through it too.

Nicole is the picture of health today, but just a few years ago, she had no idea what her future held.

When I was 21, I went in for a routine annual exam, said Nicole. She found a tiny lump.

After a mammogram, her doctor thought it was just a cyst because she was so young.

Two years later, Nicole was now mom to baby Morgan, That little lump was very big, the size of a quarter.

Shockingly at the age of 23, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I asked her [the doctor], will I have to do chemo and radiation and she said more than likely yes, that's when I broke down, explained Nicole.

When it came to surgery, she had a choice: removing the breast with the tumor, or having a double mastectomy.

She let me come to the decision on my own, but statistic wise it made sense for me to do a double mastectomy, said Nicole. To me, with a little girl at home, a young family, it was a duh, ah hah, for sure answer.

That dropped her chance of re-occurance from 40 percent, down to 5 percent.

Nicole's husband Brock was a huge support.

I didn't care what she looked like, just as long as she was here.

She went through four rounds of chemotherapy - that was the toughest part, It felt like every feminine part of me was taken away. I felt like I aged, I was 80 years old overnight, Nicole described. It's hard when you have a little girl that's up and running, running not walking.

But she fought hard, and she poured out her feelings on her blog - fittingly called Fight like a girl .

It just kind of turned into my mantra, it was my little theme to get through it, fight like a girl, said Nicole. It was very therapeutic for me.

The blog took off, attracting breast cancer patients from all over the country.

Nicole also found support in local programs - like Casting for Recovery. But the biggest show of love was at last year's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

She has was featured on race billboards, and in ads with her daughter Morgan. Her husband Brock has even been featured.

This year, the Fight like a girl team is even bigger.

There's family, then all of our friends that have been with us through the whole thing. And people we don't even know, said Brock.

After beating cancer, Nicole dreamed of adding to their little family.

Not knowing how my body was going to come out of this and if a baby in the future was going to be possible. That was really hard, said Nicole.

But three months ago, against all odds, Nicole found out she was pregnant. The new baby is due by Thanksgiving.

Cancer will always be a part of Nicole's life, but now, she has a message for all women -- young and old.

You have to know your body. If there is something that's changing, approach a doctor about it, said Nicole from experience. And if the first doctor tells you no, and you still have a bad feeling, go to another doctor. Keep going, but if you have to be a self advocate. You really have to take your health in your own hands.

Look for Nicole's team Fight like a girl at Race for the Cure on Saturday.

KTVB's live coverage of the event begins at 8 a.m. on the Saturday Morning News.

Read or Share this story: