‘She was my rock and best friend’
Heartbroken Natasha Medeiros paid an emotional tribute yesterday to her “rock and soulmate” sister who died of cancer this month.
Natasha said Nicole, who was 22, was a kind and loving soul who fought a brave yearlong battle against the disease.
The 29-year-old added that her younger sister was devoted to her family and always lived her life with a bright smile on her face.
Natasha also urged other women, “no matter how young or old”, to make sure they had the medical checks and scans that can detect early signs of cancer.
“She was such a strong character; she was always there for me to listen to my problems,” Natasha said.
“She was my rock, the only person I could really talk to and my best friend. She was my twin and quite simply the best sister anyone could wish for. She was very real and very honest, and never sugar-coated anything.”
Natasha was speaking after Nicole, a talented and popular hair stylist who worked in Hamilton, died on November 13 at a Boston hospital surrounded by friends and family. The sisters grew up in their Poinciana Road home in Devonshire with parents Rogerio and Evangelina.
They both attended Elliot Primary School, the Whitney Institute and then CedarBridge Academy, where Nicole developed a passion for personal care and hairdressing.
Natasha said: “She was just a great little girl — there may have been seven years between us but we were totally inseparable.
“We were pretty much the same person and we did everything together.
“Growing up she was headstrong and knew what she wanted and I would spoil her and give her everything she wanted.
“Family was always number one for Nicole and she loved spending time with her younger cousins and her boyfriend, Ty-rek.”
Nicole moved to Toronto to study at the Florio Beauty Academy in 2014 and pursued further qualifications in the industry.
She returned to Bermuda just over a year later and worked at Blue Print Hair Studio in Hamilton for about a year.
She then returned to Salon 27, where her sister had worked as a receptionist and where she had spent much of her teenage years helping out.
Salon manager Susan McIlhinney said: “We all knew Nicole extremely well. She was a wonderful girl.
“She was interesting and clever, and fitted in straight away because of her maturity and talent. She always wanted to learn and she learnt really quickly. She had a natural talent and a quick wit. Her clients loved her and so did everyone in the salon.”
Natasha added: “She loved Toronto and the city life; she just thought the city was fantastic. She had lots of friends and I would pretty much go and visit her every other week. We had some great times together.
“But when she came home she was so happy to be back in Bermuda and we were so happy to have her back here. She loved her job and she loved to make people happy.
Nicole became ill at the end of 2016 and after some initial treatment she was flown off the island in December last year to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where she was diagnosed with cancer.
The young hairdresser continued to receive treatment throughout 2017 in Boston until her death.
Natasha said: “She always remained positive throughout her treatment — she was so brave despite all the pain she was in.
“We were all with her at the end. She knew we were there for her.” Natasha said it was vital women were up to date on screenings and health checks.
She added: “It's so important. If you don't feel something is right with you body then push your doctor. That is key. Make sure your checks and your screenings are done. Women need to be proactive.”
Hundreds attended Nicole's funeral last week at Bella Vista in Southampton, one of her favourite spots.
Her sister added: “It was the place where she always said she had wanted to get married. A lot of people turned out to say goodbye — more than we had expected. But it showed how many people's lives my sister touched.”