Closer to Free Ride

Toddler's Family Rides Closer to Free One Year After Diagnosis

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Isabeaux Dickinson is 19 months old and loves rocks, leaves and toddling around in nature.

“She’s great. She’s doing better than we could ever hope for. You would never know that anything ever happened to her,” said mom Nina Dickinson.

The marvel over her health comes after Isabaeux was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma one month after she was born. Nina said it was stage 4S, a slightly better diagnosis for infants.

She started treatment at two months old at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Nina and Rick Dickinson said the Smilow team did a lot of handholding.

Going above and beyond reaching out to us, away from Beaux, saying ‘how are you doing?’ I mean that went a long way,” Rick said.

It was the care that they needed. Their first child, born during a pandemic, was immunocompromised and going through chemotherapy, which meant a lot of time away from family and friends.

“You’re just not in a good place and they were just, not only cutting-edge, top-of-the-line science and medical care, but just really kind and generous individuals," Nina said.

So how do you give back? Not only to the hospital team, but also their supportive community of family and friends.

The Dickinsons joined the Closer to Free Ride with a team of their own: Ready. Set. Beaux.

“We were like, that would be a really great way for all of the people who cared about us and cared about Isabeaux to kind of feel like they were contributing to this cause, and to show our immense gratitude for everything they helped us through,” Nina said.

They opted for a virtual ride last September as little Beaux was nearing the end of chemotherapy, giving friends all over the world a chance to support her.

“It’s kind of neat,” Rick said. “We have riders from Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, England, Ireland, Paris.”

And about 20 riders joined together in Mystic to go 65 miles in southeast Connecticut and Rhode Island.

“It was a nice day, it was probably the biggest gathering since we had our daughter all together, because we could be outside and it was really cool to do,” Rick said.

It was such a success among their group that they plan to host another virtual ride this year.

“It doesn’t feel like enough. It feels so good to show our gratitude and give back,” Nina said.

And they’ll celebrate the one incredible year since Beaux’s last chemo treatment and the role Closer to Free plays in the fight against cancer.

“Then you see the results which is the massive success that these types of events have for raising funds to further support, you know, the progress we can make to eliminating this as something people have to live through,” Rick said.

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