• About Nicholas

About Nicholas

NicholasNicholas touched all who knew him with his dynamic smile and personality. His amazing spirit, energy, enthusiasm, joy, and endless passion for caring about others continue to amaze us all-providing an inspiration for love and life. Everyone blessed to know him, loved him, and loves him today.

Nicholas' Legacy
To keep in the spirit of Nicholas' passion for caring about others, the Nicholas Colby Fund® was established. Through this non-profit Fund, experiences created and delivered have been generating smiles on faces of children and their families. The Nicholas Colby Fund's accomplishments continue Nicholas' legacy of love, hope, trust, caring, giving, and sensitivity - an inspiration of love and life - Helping Children Be Children®.

A Letter About Nicholas' Life-long Friend Writing To Nicholas About Heaven…

Letter from Joey

More about Nicholas

Nicholas' Biography

Nicholas Colby Gilbert was born on January 27, 2000 and lived in Lafayette, California. He was a vibrant and happy little boy enjoying all the beautiful Nicholas Biorelationships: neighbors, school, and broader Bay Area connections that helped shape his life. Nicholas spent vacations in common/uncommon destinations for children & families in California as well as Hawaii; Vancouver & Montreal, Canada; Nevada; and Colorado.

Our precious little sunshine passed away following a year and a half battle with Leukemia on May 25, 2006. Nicholas was surrounded by family and lots of friends creating a warm, wonderful, & peaceful atmosphere filling the air with love as he ascended to Heaven. Nicholas was a beautiful son, the perfect little brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend-still blessing us all today with his rays of sunshine continually warming our hearts.

- In May 2002, at the age of 2 1/2 Nicholas started preschool at Diablo Valley Montessori School

- On November 19, 2004 Nicholas was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.)

- Intense chemotherapy started the following morning…and the 1st full day of the leukemia journey

- In mid-December 2004 he was diagnosed further with Hypodiploid-A.L.L.…a rare chromosome abnormality in the cancer cells meaning a bone marrow transplant was his best chance for a cure

- On April 7, 2005 Nicholas received a matched-unrelated-donor bone marrow transplant

- On September 5, 2005 the cancer returned-relapse-despite the bone marrow transplant

- Nicholas' leukemia journey took him from Children's Hospital Oakland, Stanford-Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH), The Children's Hospital-Denver, Colorado, and back to LPCH

- On May 23, 2006, during ongoing treatment, Nicholas contracted an infection that took his life on May 25, 2006

The Medical Journey

Medical JourneyHigh Risk B-Precursor, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) - Diagnosed 11/19/04

In remission (free of cancer) from 11/29/04

Hypodiploid, "Very High Risk" B-Precursor ALL - Diagnosed mid-12/04 Reason for the bone marrow transplant (BMT)

BMT on 4/7/05-God bless the donor 6 of 6 matched unrelated donor (MUD)

Relapsed: 9/12/05

News we feared, initial-relapse-treatment failure: please refer to journal dated 10/26/05

Partial Remission-great progress: 11/28/05

Doctors report a relapse: 1/18/06

Progress, 85percent blasts (cancer cells) in bone marrow 1/18/06 is now at 40percent: 3/1/06

Awful medical news; continued calmness leaning on God: 4/6/06

Progress, blasts in bone marrow are now down from 90percent on 4/6/06 to 40percent: 5/8/06

And God's omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence is EVERYTHING toward Nicholas' healing, the manifestation of love within God's perfect creation: today and every day

Heaven: 5/25/06 at 12:52pm PST

Nicholas' Love

Nicholas' LoveNicholas always and forever will illuminate with rays of sunshine that warms our and your heart. His strength, energy, enthusiasm, joy, & endless passion for caring about others will amazingly embrace the world and heaven because of God and all of you:

Can you see the love from Nicholas' beautiful eyes? Do you taste the caring flavor evoked from Nicholas' radiant smile? Can you feel the warmth of his touch? Do you hear the love, gentle, sharing, and fun words invoked from his mouth? Can you and do you get a scent of Nicholas and everything about him?

We hold you just the way you like...
We pat you just the way you like...
We rock you just the way you like...
We love looking at you just the way we like...
We love listening to you just the way we like...
We love touching you just the way we like...
We love the flavor of your love and its aroma that is still in our lives...
We love the flavor of your love that we still taste in every part of our lives...

And Nicholas,
Because of you, loving you in every way instantly evokes the radiant love of God flowing within and around your spirit illuminating our lives so deeply that although we do not have a dark place in our bodies or minds-because of God, because of you-we so dearly miss the physical touch of your sunshine in so many ways...and then we feel you in more than so many ways...thank you, son, for being our son and loving us in every single way!"

One More Day With Nicholas

One More DayThe atmosphere and environment on May 25, 2006 helped Nicholas to know he was loved. Feelings are recapped here (from the July 25, 2006 journal marking two months since Nicholas passed onto Heaven):

We are very, very sad AND we are thankful knowing that God loves Nicholas and is with him in heaven. We are thankful for God's love because we faithfully trust His words placing Nicholas "in heaven" the greatest, loveliest, playfulness…and the "perfect" place for all to want to be when we leave this place.

Remember the book, The Next Place, recapped in the May 26, 2006 journal?

Do you remember the journals and guestbook entries about May 25, 2006 and the pure love within and around Nicholas? The love from so many of you waiting in the waiting area for Nicholas' plane to land in California after midnight…The love from all of you after Nicholas was in his Pediatric Intensive Care Room…The love and beautiful witnessing of Nicholas surrounded by everything pure and perfect letting us know that Nicholas is loved by God although we would miss him in the most gut wrenching, painful ways.

The morning of May 25, 2006 we were informed that Nicholas would probably not live through the night and dozens of family members, friends, and medical staff who were with us after midnight came back to be with many who remained at LPCH. As the dozens grew, the love in the air multiplied providing Nicholas an atmosphere of calm and comfort.

While we were trusting God to guide and shield Nicholas keeping him full of light and love, we also decided to ensure that Nicholas "knew" he is loved by everyone present and representing all of you. And it really was "all of you" because amazingly everyone who was part of Nicholas' journey was physically represented and surrounding Nicholas. And to ensure Nicholas knew this, we read books to Nicholas, prayed, sang, played his Song-Of-Love, had videos playing of Nicholas engaging with many of you, and we had Nicholas' room filled to capacity-in shifts-letting Nicholas deeply know that he is loved. Following are a couple recaps of Guestbook entries describing the feeling felt in Nicholas' room at LPCH as he ascended to Heaven:

Our little friend, Nicholas, died this afternoon. His parents brought him back to LPCH by air ambulance from Denver last night, so his family and friends could say goodbye. As Nicholas was slipping away, his dad asked each person in the room to let Nicholas know they were there, and the room was filled with love as pure as I've ever felt.

- A Guestbook Message

I want to thank you for allowing me the honor and privilege of being with you today. I am so grateful to you for yet again having the strength to allow others to share in Nicholas' and your journey and for giving us all the opportunity to say our goodbyes and to love Nicholas that little bit more. Whilst it was the saddest moment of my life it was also one of the most uplifting, poignant and treasured moments of my life. The love in the room surrounding Nicholas was so tangible. By doing it "your way" as you put it Lamont, Nicholas knew how much he was and will continue to be loved by so many. He looked so peaceful; he fell asleep and flew up to heaven. God had bigger plans for him. No more pain, no more medication dear little Angel, be with God and be at peace.

- The Bishopps

We are honored to have been there today at 12:51 p.m. when Jesus took the hands of Nicholas to be with God. We are honored. For KJ to hold his right hand when he took his last breath, was a profound experience for him. Thank you, Lamont, for allowing us to be there. My children now know that death, albeit sad, is nothing to fear. That Nicholas was surrounded with so much LOVE in that room today. You and Sheila inspire us so much. Thank you for allowing us to say good-bye to him in "your" way.

Nicholas would always say, "You want a piece of me?!" Now, we are left with a piece of him. And for that we are blessed.

There will always be a piece of Nicholas in our hearts. -

The Estudillos

Nicholas' Star in the Sky

Through the International Star Registry, on 5/25/06, a star was registered for Nicholas with the name "Nicholas Colby" and the coordinates are:

Hercules RA 18h 18m 23.34s D15° 49' 14.52"


Nicholas' Favorite Things

Nicholas' FavoritesCapturing and maintaining a list of favorite things for Sheila and our boys has been a way to track what they like for a variety of purposes. Following is the last list of Nicholas' favorites. You can hear some of his other favorites by listening to his Song Of Love under About Nicholas > More About Nicholas > Sound Tracks > Song Of Love.

California rolls (crab, avocado, sea weed, and rice)
Carrots and ranch dressing
Chicken noodle soup
Chips & salsa
Crab cakes
Miso soup with tofu

Hearts of Romaine with tomatoes and thousand-island dressing (homemade with hard-boiled eggs)


Edamame Green beans
Corn on the cob

Shrimp tempura
Chicken teriyaki
Shrimp fried rice
Oven-fried chicken legs (drum sticks)
Egg rice with soy sauce
Meatballs (that his teacher, Ms. Shirley, made)

Maple oat scones (from Starbucks)
Maple nut ice cream
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Strawberry ice cream
Vanilla ice cream

Nantucket Orange mango
Martinelli's sparkling apple juice (Nicholas called it "appling cider")
Ginger ale
Root beer
Hot chocolate


Disney (Like "Because You Live" by Jesse McCartney, "It's A Small World After All," and theme songs from shows on Disney, Nichelodeon, and Toon Town channels)

R&B ("Step In The Name Of Love" by R Kelly, "Lets Get It Started" by Black Eyed Peas, "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross...)Christmas

"How The Grinch Stole Christmas"
"Space Jam"
"Spider-Man 1" and "Spider-Man 2"
"Mulan I" and "Mulan II"
"Spy-Kids" (all of them)
"Scooby-Doo" (all of them)
"Snow Dogs"

Disney's "That's So Raven"
Disney's "Proud Family"
Disney's "Phil of the Future"
Disney's "Sister, Sister"
Toon Towns "Camp Lazlo"
Bill Cosby's "Little Bill"
Food Channel's "Rachel Ray" (He was hooked when mom & Nicholas watched Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" program, when she went to Oahu, Hawaii on that particular show and took her first surf lesson.)

Play Station 2 (PS2-and "all" of the games starting with these: Loved them all, however, the following he played the most: Spider-Man II, NBA Street, Matrix, Jimmy Neutron-Attack of the Twonkies, King Kong, Nick Toons Unite... Narnia was the last one Nicholas played.)
Monopoly Jr.
Candy Land
Hi Ho Cherry O
Go Fish (card game)
Slap Jack (card game)
Wig Out (card game)

Action Figures: Power Rangers, Spider-Man, Peter Pan...

Stuffed Animals/Characters: Bears, Dolphins, Dogs (he liked black Labradors), Thunder from the Golden State Warriors...you name it and it is probably on his bed

BOOKS (Nicholas loved to read all the time)
The Haunted House, a Walt Disney Production…from Random House

I Want To Be Somebody New, by Robert Lopshire…from Beginner Books (a division of Random House

Zach's Alligator, by Shirley Mozelle and pictures by James Watts…from Harper Collins

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert…from Simon & Shuster Books from young readers

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown with pictures by Clement Hurd

Baby Beluga, by Raffi, illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Spider On The Floor, by Raffi

Down By The Bay, by Raffi

Tingalo, by Raffi

The Children's Bible…from Golden Press

Antarctic Antics, by Judy Sierra

My Little Sister Ate One Hare, by Bill Grossman

The Happy Hedgehog Band, by Jill Barton

Abiyoyo, by Pete Seeger

The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night, by Peter Spier

Australia: Wombat Stew, by Marcia Vaughan

Da Three Little Pigs (Hawaii), by Guy Buffet

Pua Pua Lena Lena (Hawaii), by Guy Buffet

Let's Call Him Lau Wili Wili, by Tim J. Myers

Anansi (Africa), by Gerald McDermott

Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock (Africa), by Eric A. Kimmel and Janet Stevens

Anansi Finds A Fool (Africa), by Verna Aardema James Herriot's Treasury for Children, by James Herriot

"The Next Place" is a book we now have as a favorite because it was a book we read to Nicholas on May 25, 2006 (please refer About Nicholas > Celebrating Life > A Book Called, The Next Place, By Warren Hanson).

All of them: winter, spring, summer, and fall

Rainy days (Nicholas said, "Because when it stops raining you could splash in puddles!")



Sword fighting
Swimming, Snorkeling




 "Money and stuff"

Celebration of Life

Celebration of LifeToday (June 2, 2006) as Nicholas' Memorial Service began, it wonderfully began with sounds that many of us have become so accustomed to…Nicholas' song-of-love playing as Pastor Tom Dabasinskas, our other boys, and mom & dad walked into the sanctuary.

Amazing because the spirit of Nicholas was so alive throughout the Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church. Seemingly-and although we know angelic-enjoying it from the MEMORIAL SERVICE and the bubble procession that followed…to the release of doves and butterflies at the INTERMENT…and with the continual love of hundreds of "people" during the CELEBRATION OF LIFE remembering, sharing, and enjoying the beauty of Nicholas and God's work manifesting in our hearts because of His work in Nicholas.

While there was prayer; several speakers (at two of the three components of today's celebration), three separate soloists performing (one at each celebration component); performance by four beautiful-little harpists; bubbles, doves, and butterflies; Thunder of the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team sharing his and the Warriors' organization's love through the interaction with Thunder during an "open mic" portion of the Celebration of Life component; …it was Nicholas' favorite thing that truly made today amazing. It was…the people!

It was everyone present representing an unbelievable cross section of Nicholas' life. From family, friends, school, hospitals, church, and cross sections of those that have come to know Nicholas by his actions of love that have become word of mouth to so many. Mom & dad realize that it is about Nicholas and God's love for Nicholas and all of us, that IS making Nicholas' journey amazing. We are so proud of our 6-year old boy who continually and vibrantly lives in spirit…teaching us over the past six years, today, and now...forever.

Redirecting to Photo Album

This picture / story book about Nicholas' journey was created by friends Tina and Mitch. You will see Nicholas in ways you have seen, in ways you have not seen, with many of you, and you will see words to be heard & shared for evermore. All of what we see, feel, hear, touch, & smell that gives us joy is from God and because God is God...He enables Nicholas to forever live so wonderfully in our lives...Nicholas knew he was loved and surely must know that he is so loved today.

Click Here to view the Story Book

Redirecting to Sound Tracks

The Next Place

The Next Place"The Next Place

The Next Place is an inspirational journey of light and hope to a place where earthly hurts are left behind. An uncomplicated journey of awe and wonder to a destination without barriers.

Lose yourself in the uplifting sense of comfort and serenity. Embrace the joyful spirit of oneness. Then pour yourself into the lives of those you love.

The Next Place is, above all, a celebration of life. Hear the music. Feel the warmth. And be carried away along life's everlasting flight.

The next place that I go will be as peaceful and familiar as a sleepy summer Sunday and a sweet, untroubled mind.

And yet...it won't be anything like any place I've ever been...or seen...or even dreamed of in the place I leave behind.

I won't know where I'm going, and I won't know where I've been as I tumble through the always and look back toward the when.

I'll glide beyond the rainbows. I'll drift above the sky. I'll fly into the wonder, without ever wondering why.

I won't remember getting there. Somehow I'll just arrive. But I'll know that I belong there and will feel much more alive than I have ever felt before. I will be absolutely free of the things that I held onto that were holding onto me.

The next place that I go will be so quiet and so still. That the whispered song of sweet belongings will rise up to fill the listening sky with joyful silence, and with unheard harmonies of music made by no one playing, like a hush upon a breeze.

There will be no room for darkness in that place of living light, where an ever-drawing morning pushes back the dying night. The very air will fill with brilliance, as the brightly shining sun. And the moon and half a million stars are married into one.

The next place that I go won't really be a place at all. There won't be any seasons--winter, summer, spring or fall--Nor a Monday, Nor a Friday, Nor December, Nor July. And the seconds will be standing still...while hours hurry by.

I will not be a boy or girl, a woman or a man. I'll simply be just, simply, me. No worse or better than. My skin will not be dark or light. I won't be fat or tall. The body I once lived in won't be part of me at all.

I will finally be perfect. I will be without a flaw. I will never make one more mistake, or break the smallest law.

And the me that was impatient, or was angry or unkind, will simply be a memory. The me I left behind.

I will travel empty-handed. There is not a single thing I have collected in my life that I would ever want to bring except the love of those who loved me, and the warmth of those who cared. The happiness and memories and magic that we shared.

Though I will know the joy of solitude...I'll never be alone. I'll be embraced by all the family and friends I've ever known. Although I might not see their faces, all our hearts will beat as one, and the circle of our spirits will shine brighter than the sun.

I will cherish all the friendship I was fortunate to find, all the love and all the laughter in the place I leave behind.

All these good things will go with me. They will make my spirit glow. And that light will shine forever in the next place that I go."

One day after Nicholas ascended to Heaven, following is what we shared on his website's journal.

There is so much of Nicholas to share and there is so much love filling our hearts fighting the piercing pain throughout every part of our bodies and the deepest parts of our being. Including Nicholas' last day with us all in body, the love from Nicholas and the love from so many (seemingly representing everyone near and far), there are stories of love filling our hearts and minds.

Right now we want to share a piece of Nicholas' last physical day with us all. It is a moment with family and friends. Imagine, everyone from everywhere who helped to welcome Nicholas back to California shortly after 12:45 am on May 25, 2006. His brothers, grandparents, uncles & aunts, cousins, neighbors, playmates & their parents, teacher, friends he met along this journey, and amazingly his doctors, nurses, & other hospital staff from all three hospitals that have been part of Nicholas' life. Yes, around 1:15 in the morning they (you) were there! And yes, throughout the rest of the early hours and throughout the day up to 12:52 pm on May 25, 2006, they (you) were there for Nicholas.

The moment that we will share is the reading of a book, "The Next Place" by Warren Hanson, that was given to Nicholas on May 24, 2006 by his doctor (Dr. Gore) at The Children's Hospital-Denver while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as we prepared to be flown home to California. Dr. Gore and all of the nurses who had been around Nicholas during our stay in Denver stayed with Nicholas and mom & dad from the time we entered the Emergency Room at 1:30 am on May 24, to 9:45 pm on May 24 when we left for California. The reading of the book was with everyone from everywhere present in Nicholas' ICU room. (The book's illustrations are amazingly vibrant.)

A Simple Smile

Amazing neighbor's words: "...Never before knowing Nicholas, or Nikko as he preferred, would I ever have thought that a person not in my own family could impact my life so substantially..."

A Simple Smile (About Nicholas Colby Gilbert), from a December 6, 2010 English paper by Andrew Palffy that he delivered to the Gilberts on October 31, 2011

Growing up in the Bay Area as a child, I experienced a large variety of influences in my life, some better than others. However, the individual who impacted my life the most through their personality and character is Nicholas Colby Gilbert. Never before knowing Nicholas, or Nikko as he preferred, would I ever have thought that a person not in my own family could impact my life so substantially...The importance of positivity, enjoying all life has to offer, and unconditional kindness are a few of the many life lessons I have learned through my wonderful and colorful experiences with Nicholas.

When Nikko was born, I was only seven, still enrolled in elementary school...As a child myself, I enjoyed spending time with his older brothers, playing basketball or football in their front yard. Although Nikko was never quite old enough to play with us, he would always come to watch on the sidelines with outbursts of joy and happiness when a play would end. The pure liveliness that Nikko contained and established through his always upbeat and smiling personality was astonishing to all who came across him.

There was an ongoing joke that I had with another neighbor, Blake, and it stated, “If you ever pass by Nikko and still have a frown, I suggest a doctor.” It is hard to describe the feelings that one would become overwhelmed with when striking up a conversation with Nicholas. He always had a positive opinion on a topic with much anticipation to discuss, whether it was the beautiful sunset or the neighborhood cats that had been bathing in the sun all day.  No matter the subject, Nikko had an upbeat view about it, and for a child who lived for such a brief time, it was quite astonishing to see such pure positivity and enjoyment in life.

From Nicholas’s upbeat outlook on anything his thoughts or eyes came across, I have learned to look for the best in situations. It has also taught me to respect everyone’s opinion, as he would do, saying, “Why would I tell you you thinking wrong? We both think.” This quote, although not grammatically correct, has stuck with me through many disagreements and arguments I have faced. It allows me to appreciate others’ ideas and opinions... Nikko would often take pride in believing one could be whatever they wanted by stating, “I am Nikko, not Nicholas, I can be whatever I want to be...”

With such positivity, it would be naïve to not expect Nikko’s feelings of happiness and excitement that he displayed on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I was once asked why I thought Nicholas was always smiling and so happy all the time. With a reflection on the idea I, responded, “Because he believes.” I truly feel as if Nicholas Gilbert believed in the good of all people, animals, and everything. Although some would say it is quite preposterous for a six year old kid to understand and comprehend such ideas, I would entirely disagree...The simple things he would notice but that I would pass up as unimportant or worthless, such as a simple acorn on the ground or a “curvy” stick in the sidewalk, was and still is shocking to this day...

...I had gone from playing basketball with Nicholas to hearing about his hospital visits and lengthy operations. However, no matter how bad the news kept getting, I never saw Nikko without a smile on his face and a cheerful thing to say. As I look back, I can’t imagine how somebody going through such hardships could be so happy and content with everything going on around them. Not only did Nikko have a once in a lifetime personality, but he was also one of the most generous children I have ever met.

I feel as if his quotes and attitude were his constant gifts to me.  Nicholas’ unconditional compassion and love for everyone was never asked or required of him; he just knew the “right” way to go about life… His rare personality is something people of all ages yearn for and many never achieve. One of the most important things I have learned from Nikko is to put your best smile on for the day, for as much as you know it could be your last.