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 Hope for one is hope for all — Nicoli’s Story 

“When he was diagnosed, I kind of already expected it,” Nicoli’s mama bear, Nara, shared. Nicoli Alva had just turned one year old when a normal doctor’s appointment turned into a fight against leukemia. Because Nicoli has down syndrome, he is at a higher risk of developing leukemia. Even though Nicoli’s family knew that this was a possibility, the journey ahead of them was still just as scary and uncertain as any other pediatric cancer battle. 

“The highs are counting down the days until we can come home from the hospital,” Nara shared. Every time Nicoli undergoes a round of chemotherapy, he is admitted to the hospital for several days to receive the medication and then several days or weeks after to be monitored as he recovers from treatment. A couple of days after every round of chemo, his white blood cell counts are depleted and he is likely to spike a fever as his immune system takes a hard hit. So Nicoli has a planned hospital stay during and after every round of chemo treatment until all his blood cell counts are back up where they need to be and he can go home. 

“The items are exactly what you need when you are spending days in the hospital.” 

“When I first received the bag, I think I cried… it was very touching.” Nara first found out about Roc Solid when she received a Roc Solid Ready Bag in the hospital when Nicoli received his first chemo treatment. “The items are exactly what you need when you are spending days in the hospital,” Nara shared. “You can’t think to pack those things when you are in an urgent situation… but all those little necessities that you wouldn’t think of are there for you.” 

“The lows are how the chemotherapy zaps his immune system,” Nara explained. “Because he has down syndrome, he already has low muscle town and slight lung issues.” Due to his weakened immune system, Nicoli isn’t able to play on public playgrounds during his cancer treatment since he would be exposed to too many unknown germs. Roc Solid was able to provide Nicoli with his very own backyard playset to give him a safe, germ-free place to play and just be a kid. 

Community coming together to build hope 

“When I first found out we were getting a playset, I didn’t know what to expect because I had never had one, even as a kid. To have a company that cared about the kids so much and to see them be happy was very touching.” 

On the day of Nicoli’s playset build, he and his mama bear had to go to the hospital, but his older brothers were excited to supervise the build on his behalf. Volunteers from Ryan Homes rallied together in Nicoli’s backyard and got to work building his playset. Just a few hours later, Nicoli’s playset was all finished and ready to be tested out. Since Nicoli wasn’t back from the hospital yet, his big brother, Javier, tested out the slide for him and gave it two thumbs up. 

Later, when Nicoli came home from the hospital, he was so excited to see the big surprise in his backyard. Nicoli was officially declared cancer-free earlier this year. Nara says that he loves playing outside on his playset with his big brothers, and she loves to see his older brothers, even the oldest, playing outside like little kids again on their playset. 

Check out Nicoli’s full story on Roc Solid’s YouTube channel

Learn more about becoming a playset sponsor and building a playset for a kiddo like Nicoli. Email us at for more information.