FORTY FORT — Nicole Farber still has a week left on the job, but she already misses the place — Candy’s Place — where cancer patients and their loved ones go for services and support.
Farber, 33, is leaving her position as managing director on March 15 to start a new business. On Thursday, Farber got emotional when talking about leaving Candy’s Place and its people.
“The people — the patients, the families, the volunteers, everybody — are just amazing,” Farber said.
Penny Cunningham, founder of the center that bears her late sister’s name, said Farber will be difficult to replace. “She has a great way with the patients,” Cunningham said. “They take to her immediately.”
Cunningham said that trait was extremely important when hiring Farber nearly five years ago.
“It’s not something you go to school for,” she said. “It’s an innate personality trait, and Nicole has it.”
Farber fought back tears when she talked about the people she sees every day. Her philosophy has been to treat every person the same way she would want her mother, father or family members to be treated, she said.
“I have all these images in my head of all the people who come here,” Farber said. “I feel blessed to be in their lives — to have been able to give them a message of hope; that there is another tomorrow.”
Farber said she has seen the difficulty that cancer patients endure. “The normalcy of their life has stopped,” she said. “They find themselves in a black hallway. We get them to know that around the corner there is another doorway of light.”
The community needs Candy’s Place to continue, said Farber, and she intends to help raise money and support its mission as a volunteer.
“We strive to assure that all of our patients leave Candy’s Place with a smile,” she said. “We tell them that this is just another chapter in their book of life.”
Candy’s Place is adorned with inspirational quotes painted on the walls. One in the exercise room reads, “Live well, laugh often, love much.” Another in the “Wig Boutique” says, “Oh my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts — it’s what you do with what you have left.”
Farber will become sole owner of her new company, ENX2, which will stage fitness challenges known as mud runs. She will donate spectator fees — $5 per head — from her first event on June 1 at the Northeast Fairgrounds in Pittston Township to Candy’s Place. Parking fees, also $5, will be given to the township volunteer fire company. You can find more information on the event at www.r3ops.com.
“I have to be helping people, or my soul is no good,” she said.
Cunningham said the search is on for a new director. Nicole certainly will be hard to replace,” Cunningham said. “Not everybody has the qualities she brought to the position.”
Farber has a 9-year-old son, Nikolus, and she is engaged to be married. She’s a graduate of Tunkhannock Area High School, Wilkes-Barre Practical Nursing Center and the University of Phoenix. From her time at Candy’s Place, Farber said she leaves with countless memories and lasting friendships.
“I may not be here every day, but I will always be thinking about them,” she said.