Nicole and Damien Gurganious celebrated 5 years of marriage in August.

Nicole Brewer-Gurganious is a friend of Triple B. She’s a former boss from my days at ESSENCE magazine (she was then fashion director, I was fashion and beauty research editor). A few years later I started covering real weddings for and featured Nicole’s August 2009 nuptials to hubby Damien. The vibrant couple had been contestants on Biggest Loser and both shed an impressive amount of weight while making significant lifestyle changes. It was a delight to showcase Nicole’s big day on and Nicole was equally as excited to share her love story. Nicole has confessed, “He was made especially for me” when asked about her marriage. Fast forward to the launch of in 2010 — Nicole was an ambassador for David’s Bridal and lent her style expertise to Triple B when the blog was just a month old. She cheerfully expressed how proud she was of me and the leap of faith I took to start this blog. Her advice on how brides of any shape or size can find a fashionable gown is still relevant. Two years ago, Nicole and Damien became the proud parents of a beautiful daughter named Giselle who was the light of both of their lives.

Now Nicole is a widow.

On November 20, just two days after his 38th birthday, Damien suffered a nosebleed and his mouth became swollen. He had difficulty swallowing. He thought it was an allergic reaction to something he ate and went to the emergency room. A day later, Damien was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare autoimmune disorder. The disease caused bleeding in his brain, and Damien died four days after he was admitted.

Nicole + Damien on their wedding day

Nicole lost her husband of five years on her birthday.

I don’t know how anyone with a pulse can still be reading this and not feel some sense of loss, too. This is a tragedy for sure. Friends of the couple started an online fundraiser at to provide Nicole and Giselle financial assistance during this difficult time. Nicole shared this touching memory of Damien and Giselle with

“Watching my husband with Giselle was the most rewarding part of our journey to parenthood and our marriage,” says Nicole. “She would light up in his presence as if no one else existed in the world. My favorite memory of them was as Giselle started talking and learning new words, he would reward her with a huge hug and flip in the air. She couldn’t wait to say “apple,” just waiting for her ride to the sky with daddy!”

Daddy-daughter bonding...Damien's legacy will live on through Giselle

I’m pleading that the entire Triple B family will do all that we can to help. Perhaps some of the money allocated for holiday gifts can be used here. That’s what this season is really supposed to be about, right? Even if you cannot give monetarily, prayers are welcomed I’m sure.

You can read more about Nicole and Damien here.