West Fargo woman helps local nonprofit in fundraiser for friend dying of cancer

Lend a Hand Up fundraiser for 14 different families, including a West Fargo mother.

WEST FARGO — Nikki Peterson is a former West Fargo dance teacher who has been fighting a courageous battle with cancer. Standing beside her, her family knows the fight against cancer all too well.

Lend a Hand Up fundraiser ambassador Kristi Engelstad has been like a sister to Peterson for 30 years. The two grew up together in West Fargo, playing volleyball against each other in college and now live just a few houses away from each other.

Peterson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001. After going through operations and treatments for nearly two decades, she is now electing to stop treatment and enjoy the rest of her days with family and friends.

"Unfortunately, there's just nothing else that they can do for her now," Engelstad said.

Engelstad is working on a fundraiser out of love for her friend and because she's been in a similar situation.


"I had ovarian cancer in 2017, and when I got diagnosed, one of the first calls I made was to Nikki, and she was the first one at my door," Engelstad said. "I'm pretty sure she bought like half of Costco and brought it over for me. She knew what I needed because she's been through it."

The funds raised will go to helping the Peterson family overcome the financial hardships that come with medical treatment.

"It's so tough. No one should have to go through their own little kid having to go through chemotherapy for over two years, and to then know Nikki's brain tumor in incurable, it's heartbreaking," Engelstad said.

The Petersons aren't letting that stop them from living it up. Nikki has gone on a family vacation and traveled to Florida with her friends in order to make a few more lasting memories.

"To have a friend like that is incredible," Engelstad said. "It's going to be a big loss when she's not here anymore. This is a way to help everybody that loves her remember her when she's gone."

Local nonprofit Lend a Hand Up is helping with the fundraising for Peterson and her family. The organization's Big Boost Week is adding an additional 20%, up to $5,000, to money raised for 14 different local families.

Nikki Peterson's campaign goes until Feb. 8. To help out, visit Lend A Hand Up's website at

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