A brazen spotlight: Nicola Swan

by | Jun 27, 2020

A brazen spotlight: Nicola Swan

Every week Brazen will shine a spotlight on someone by asking them a set of questions.

Those questions are

1) What are 3 things people don’t know about you?

2) How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

3) If you had to start your adult life over again, what would you change?

4) What’s the single best thing that has ever happened to you?

5) What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

This week our Brazen spotlight is on Nicola Swan.

1) What are 3 things people don’t know about you?
A) I was once a competitive rock climber, now I’m terrified of heights!!!! I could do 50 chin ups non-stop at my prime, now I can’t do 1 (perhaps chin ups will be a new goal).

B) My youngest boy James passed away age 5 from a rare neurological/neuromuscular condition I call James Syndrome (he’s undiagnosed but think motor neurone disease with epilepsy & SMA 1, then you get an idea of his condition). He was born healthy then everything changed when he was 3. Although an incredibly painful time in my life, I channeled my boy’s determination and decided the support and therapy we didn’t get because it doesn’t exist in Wellington would be there for others! So I set about setting up a charity and The Swan Nest was born. It’s early days, but what people may not realise as although I’m broken in many ways, the grief has given me the drive to make this a success for other families. Everyone who has a child living with a complex health condition or terminal illness deserves to have play, art & music therapy so they can make sense of their often scary or confusing world and the wider family including siblings, parents & grandparents are included too.   My ultimate goal is BIG, to raise 1 million dollars so we can have a homely facility in Wellington. You can visit us online at https://www.theswannest.org.nz/

c) I have run a half marathon through the bush (it’s way harder than on the road, I thought I’d roll my ankle! I would like to run another on but on the rd one day.


2) How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Motivation doesn’t always come easy but for me motivation is easier when I know others will benefit. I set goals and write them down, having them visible helps. I visualise the end goal, this helps me stay motivated.
My kids keep me motivated too as I want to set a good example for them that we can achieve our goals when we stay motivated & don’t give up even when it gets hard.


3) If you had to start your adult life over again, what would you change?
I’d SAVE SAVE SAVE, I’d change everything about how I handle money! Automatically from the day I became an adult I’d put at least 10% of everything I earn into savings. I’d retain my fitness!! I’d not let it slip, it’s so hard to get it back.


4) What’s the single best thing that has ever happened to you? 
Being told by my Dad as a 10yr old while I sat on the side of the hydro slide In Nelson watching my siblings have a blast because I was too scared “Nicola, You have choices in life, you can sit on the sideline and watch everyone else have fun or you can be brave and join them and give it a go, you might find you enjoy it, please try it once before deciding you don’t like it” 
I got up and gave it a go and LOVED it!! From that moment on I always gave opportunities a go, stepping well out of my comfort zone all the time. It has stayed with me and even when I’m scared or doubting myself I’ll still give it a go and see where it leads 🙂 


5) What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I’d find music, play & art therapists & amazing people like a social worker or peads nurse to help me open The Swan Nest! That is if I wasn’t afraid of the cost & how I’d pay these amazing people!! 

I’d put a studio on the back of our house so I could set up my sewing properly and use profits to help fund my charity and provide children with tubes (feeding tubes, central lines etc) with gorgeous modified clothing so they didn’t have to expose half their body for feeds and/or meds. There’s so much I’d do if I wasn’t afraid!

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