You, well I can’t talk about Poppa without singing…

Anyway this is not about a song it’s about a boy. It’s the story of a young man that without even trying has made me appreciate the younger generation.

I’ve known Poppa(Nicholas Rushnok) since  I was in high school because I knew his older sister, but I wasn’t sold then.

As you know In march of 2010 I had a stroke well then in about June or July my mom and I were  in walmart.I was looking at something and I had my cane well I dropped the cane and couldn’t really bend over to get it when poppa, his mom and sister walk by. His mom says Nicholas grab sam’s cane for her.  He coulda looked at me and said why me?Or at his sister and said why can’t lex. He didn’t he ran over and handed it me.

That started our journey together.

Fast forward two-three years I start to workout at his families gym, I had started to run but was not allowed to go alone in case I fell. So  one day after school Poppa walks into  the gym and I was ready to run I said “Hey you gonna run with me. He kinda looks at me and his mom and she explains, Poppa, Sam can’t go alone because if she falls she’ll need someone there. The explanation wasn’t needed. Poppa looked at us again and said okay. He put his book bag down and then  we went to the trail.

Poppa unknowingly became my running buddy.   He ran with me like every other day, as much as my left knee could handle.One day we were running and poppa kinda looka at me smirking,

I don’t think either of us realized at the time but Poppa became more than my running buddy that day.He became my friend and little brother.

“You know they said you might never walk again?” Yep I know…  as we keep running.

It was literally the cutest thing. We ran a lot together and just chatted about life and stuff because I was training for a 5k.I was determined to run and when I found a race I texted his mom and said can you please bring poppa I don’t want to run alone. Of course that was almost no option.

She brought poppa and we ran.I fell, for he first time and it made him a lil nervous but I was okay as we finished the race! We killed it!!


I kinda stopped going to their gym because my school schedule didn’t allow for it. But this was forever my running buddy. We ran another race last July. I fell again but you know who was standing next to me? It was poppa!

Fast forward to the new school year.Poppa transferred back to Crestwood and he gets a new teacher Mrs. Grabowski.


Well isn’t that funny.Mrs Grabowski mid as well be my cousin? I mean her mom dated my uncle way back in the day, we only hung out every summer since we were kids.  Mrs. G has recess or whatever and there’s this kid who doesn’t have a group. What does poppa do? He goes over and asks then if he can join them?

Mrs.G tells his mom(Nicki) how proud she is of Nicholas!! Nicki cries,

Anyway Nicki then asks, Can you write a letter of recommendation for poppa to join leadership. Uh well Duh. I did,

“I Samantha Lough would like to recommend Nicholas Rushnok for the Crestwood Middle School leadership challengers program as Nicholas has shown leadership skills in helping those who need extra assistance and encouragement.

Personally, Nicholas has taught me to stay positive in extremely frustrating circumstances. Nicholas became my running partner because he knew I couldn’t do it alone and he runs by my side in every race I sign up for. He assisted me in every aspect of training that I asked and never once complained. Nicolas has held my hand through the last two years in my recovery process. He challenges me to be a better person and leader every time I come in contact with him.

Not only has Nicholas helped me personally he watches out for kids who aren’t apart of groups and invites them into his.

Nicholas has shown leadership in his families’ place of work by assisting members without being asked. And doesn’t complain when he has been asked.

Nicholas was diagnosed with a blood disease last summer and finds other ways of doing things and has never whined about not being able to do certain activities

On another personal note Nicholas has always performed random acts of kindness before he was ever asked to. I can remember being fresh out of the hospital at Walmart. I dropped my cane and as Nick and his family walked by Nick picked up my cane and handed it to me then continued on his way.

just this school year he sat with a lonely girl who didn’t have any friends. Nicholas is the epitome of integrity. He does nice things for people just because that’s who he is.

I recommend Nicholas for leadership because he is a kid with a heart for everyone. He doesn’t care who you re he just wants to help and make your world a better place.

Nicholas is a true leader.

Again Nicki cried…pointing out “Nicholas has a hear  for everyone.”

Nicholas was accepted into Crestwood Middle School’s leadership program!

Fast forward again to May, (Now) Nicki texts.”Hey you free Thursday at 1:30, Uh probably Y?

Poppa is getting an award at CMS at 1:30 can you come?

Uh ya probably.

I walked into the gym, can’t find poppa anywhere and I hear a yelling voice SAM!! SAM! SAM! and then I get the biggest tear filled Hug. He, a twelve year old, started crying because I would come to support him.It made my heart melt…

 Poppa received awards for leadership, merit roll,

and a caring award…DUHH

He said to his mother later on, ” when I got my leadership award I looked up at Sam and thought this is because of her.I may have taught you how to help lead, but that award is because of you. You deserved it!
I’m so proud of this 6th grader! way to go Nicholas!!
And just because everyone pointed out that they saw us up thee taking selfies ❤
Fit Fam<3
And Nicki is crying again…



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