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Life beyond the battle

Former Pinewood MP Khaalis Rolle has been struggling to come to grips with the death of his wife after she lost her brief struggle with breast cancer last year.

Nadia, the mother of 7-year-old Kayliegh and 10-year-old Kerrington, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2017.

She died at 41.

“She started to feel something, a lump in her breasts, and she told me she felt uncomfortable,” said Rolle, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian at the celebration that followed Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Paradise Island on Saturday morning.

“She went and got a scan, went through the process, and it was confirmed that it was cancer.

“The unfortunate thing about that was, it was already stage two, but it was triple negative, which is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer [and] there’s very little treatment for it.

“She did multiple rounds of chemo, multiple rounds of radiation. She had the mastectomy and because nothing worked, we ended up using something that was in clinical trials.

“That didn’t work, and she lost her battle.”

Rolle said the Komen race has new meaning for his family.

“I always supported the event but from a distance,” he said.

“You don’t know how important it is until it touches home.

“My wife was very young, and in my view, one of the most perfect people I’ve ever met.

“She did everything right. She ate right. She exercised. [But] she was cut down in her prime.

“At 40 years old she was diagnosed and fought a battle for an entire year and lost that battle, unfortunately.

“So this event to me has significant meaning. It’s life. It’s preserving life. It’s doing whatever you can to beat this monster they call cancer.”

The event is sponsored by Sunshine Insurance and attracts hundreds of Bahamians and non-Bahamians for a race that starts at Montagu Beach and ends with festivities honoring the memories of those who lost their fight to the dreadful disease and celebrating the survivors.

Nadia Rolle was among those lost who was honored at the event.

Picking up the pieces 

Rolle said life without his wife is a day-to-day challenge.

“We have our moments,” he said.

“Knowing my wife, she would want us to live, she would want us to be happy, she would want us to be comfortable.

“I speak to the kids about it every day. They have questions every day and we talk about the future.

“We talk about living for her memory, and it’s tough; but like I say we are survivors.”

He noted that the family has become more active in anything cancer-related in order to honor Nadia’s memory.

Their daughter wants to start a group for young kids who have lost their mothers to breast cancer.

Rolle said the hardest part has been trying to fill the space his wife left.

“… Sometimes it’s difficult for children when they lose their mom,” he said.

“Losing a dad may be tough, but moms are the anchor in most families and, truth be told, I struggle to figure out what to do with Kayliegh’s hair.

“She was the regimented homework queen, we used to call her… In the evenings when she got home, she took a particular role in making sure that they did their homework.

“Kerrington was a spelling bee champ, and that was because every single evening Nadia would go and she would drill him like a military officer on spelling bee words. Trying to fill that role, it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all.”

Rolle urged families going through similar experiences to be strong and be a support system for each other.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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