Raised: $411,636.00
Goal: $50,000.00

Created by

Melissa Smith

1547 Friends

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Hi! Thanks for taking the time to visit, I am Stephanie Smith, Melissa's sister. I created this page to raise funds for a handicap accessible home for my sister, as well as raise awarene... more


Updated posted by Melissa Smith 1 month ago

Hi my peeps, I know I keep disappearing for too long at a time. This winter has not been kind to my body. I have spent most of the last three months in the hospital, although it has been the best few hospital stays I have ever had with all the support and visits and pick me ups that everyone has been doing, giving and being there for me more than ever now. I know my chive family has been so supportive in every single way. I have yet another pneumonia but I am trying SO HARD to get this stuff out of my lungs, I am in physical therapy even when I wake up and feel like I can't move or breathe well, I am still making it and pushing my body to get healthy.

I want to find a house! I did get the chance to look at a place I like in between hospital stays. It needs a lot of work... New cabinets and counters I can can access easily and reach better, flooring, we need to reconfigure and remodel the kitchen and the master bedroom, bathroom and closet for me so I can function all by myself, that would be my ultimate goal, I am so tired of feeling like a baby almost. I am so grateful that I have help and support but I want to cook again so badly and be able to shower all by myself and go in my closet and pick out clothes that I can reach and do my own laundry and be able to move around my house easily and in an open area where as now, where I am renting, the carpets kill my arms and its a very small place with lots of difficult areas for me to try and maneuver my way around. I would love to brush my teeth in a real sink, not a bowl and get ready in a bathroom that works for me. I know it is coming soon, I am so ready but I am SO LOST and not sure where to start when it comes to all these things. I may ask my chive family to help me and guide me and show me things I don't know. This is ALL NEW to me and I want to be independent so badly so I am getting really serious, I might make an offer on a house that we looked at that is very close to a lot of family members which would be good for the times I do need help or if there is an emergency.

When all this is ready and we have a place and I am settled, I want to have a meet up at my house in the warm weather hopefully in my big back yard if I get it, a housewarming cook out party! I want to see everyone that can make it, that would be the best day.

Anyone who feels that they would maybe want to help me or guide me through any of the things I have mentioned or if you are thinking of things that I have totally skipped over (I know its probably a lot), please reach out to me, I definitely need the support you guys always give me and I can't wait to get it moving and show you all the good and possibilities and opportunities you are bringing to my life. I thank you all so very much. I will never be able to pay you all back but like I have said before, I will always pay it forward. All of my love, Melissa


Updated posted by Melissa Smith 2 months ago

Hi guys. I know it has been a while since an update but just want to fill everybody in. This is Stephanie BTW. My sister has been pretty sick the last month or so. Pneumonia, some very strange skin condition and a bunch of other NOT FUN issues going on. Yesterday Johns Hopkins did a biopsy on a strange lump/infection that they are unsure of and we are awaiting those results. Today she will under go a lung surgery to take a look at some suspicious spots on/around lungs and to help clear out the pneumonia/infection that her lungs are to weak to do on her own thanks to chemo and radiation. I will continue to try and keep everyone as updated as possible. It kind of feels like one step forward 3 steps back but with the prayers, and love from all of the chivers, friends, family I know my sister will pull through this as she has every other time. She also celebrates her 30th birthday on Sunday Feb. 2nd so everyone keep her in your thoughts and lets hope the madness ends soon.

KCCO as always.

If you want/need to contact or or send anything to Melissa, please email me at HopeforMMS@Yahoo.com


Updated posted by Melissa Smith 3 months ago

Hi guys,

I wanted to check in because I may seem a bit distant in the last month or so but I have been SO SICK! I was in the hospital for a while and am home now but feeling less than par. Today is the first day, I could even think about sending a text, making a call or reading an email but I don't want anyone thinking I'm ignoring or not around, I'm here, I'm trying to get better. Started with a nasty pneumonia and my body is working real hard to get well, unfortunately, it works a little slower than I would like it to! This set back is a big one as far as my progress with physical therapy which I've missed now for almost a month ugh :( that is so frustrating to me because that's my happy place and where I feel my best and where I'm getting strongest, I will get there, I always do. I just wanted to let you know that too. KCCO. Thank you for the support, these are the times I don't think I could make it without it. Sending all my love I posess, I hope everyone is living their days to the fullest and counting their prayers every morning, take it all in :). LOVE, melissa

1 - 3 of 21 Updates
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Created by Melissa Smith on October 8, 2013

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to visit, I am Stephanie Smith, Melissa's sister. I created this page to raise funds for a handicap accessible home for my sister, as well as raise awareness of her diagnosis,Transverse Myelitis. After we had a bad fall out of Melissa's wheelchair outside of her small INACCESSIBLE rental apartment it became a crucial goal that I was determined to reach, to get her into an accessible home that is 100% safe, a home she could actually live in and not feel completely helpless and trapped. After 8 years of fighting, there is nobody more deserving. All donations made through this page will go directly to my sister and I hope and pray that we can get her what she needs and deserves......Read on.

At age 22, Melissa discovered a golf ball sized lump in her neck. We had no idea what to expect but when they sent us to an oncology surgeon, it made us feel a little nervous. While we desperately hoped for the best, we were devastated to hear the diagnosis, Melissa had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The doctors told us that this cancer had a cure rate of 85% after treatment so we were super confident. She spent a great deal of time at the hospital back and forth for chemotherapy every other Friday. We would all sit in the room for hours and hang out with other patients or watch movies while she received treatment. It was never a big ordeal for her, she didn't talk much about it, just pushed through. She was so strong, even on Saturday mornings after chemo, she would take herself to work with a smile on her face. She continued to work full time as well as finishing her Bachelors at Towson University. Almost a year later, Melissa was in remission, what a relief, we could breathe.

After almost 3 years of remission, Melissa once again found a lump in her neck and once again heard the word CANCER. Her Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had returned, more aggressively. That being said, the treatment this time was also much more aggressive. She received several types of chemotherapy for several months which doctors referred to as the "big guns" chemo followed by an Autologous stem cell transplant. This knocked her immune system out completely and Melissa was very sick within 24 hours of starting all of this treatment and Hopkins became home for over a month so she could be monitored. There were infections and fatigue and her body refused to make platelets and we needed to have so many blood transfusions and the list goes on; while incredibly painful for Melissa, she never lost her smile. After cancer the first time, Melissa began taking classes again to be a nurse and give back, she worked so hard and while she was finishing up her transplant she found out she was accepted to nursing school with a 3.75 GPA, this had to go on the back burner for the time being since she still was not finished with her treatment. Melissa knew as soon as she was sick the first time that she wanted to be a nurse and it made perfect sense because she has always been the first person to help ANYONE in need. Melissa finished her 28 days straight of radiation in November that year. Months later, we heard the word again, REMISSION!

All of these accomplishments, putting herself through college, beating cancer TWICE, her admission into a nursing program, were shadowed in 2012 when a tingling on her legs grew until she was tripping and dragging her feet, often to the point of falling. We were back at Hopkins and Melissa was in excruciating pain but all of her spinal taps came back clear and doctors were at a loss. Further testing revealed that she had developed an extremely rare neurological disease called Transverse Myelitis in which the immune system attacks its own spinal cord. The disease started to spread so fast once they found out what it was. At one point it reached my sisters blood brain barrier and the doctors told us that she wasn't likely to make it through the night if it crossed over this barrier BUT it didn't! There is not a specific cause for this disease and there is no cure either. One thing that is so important to know about TRANSVERSE MYELITIS is that it DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. While, my sister had other health issues before TM, one would think that it was linked to the history but in most cases we have ever read or heard about, people affected are healthy as can be and it takes them over all of a sudden. This disease affects all ages including little babies.

Currently Melissa has been left paralyzed from the chest down and is confined to a wheelchair. Her life has been flipped completely upside down. Simple everyday tasks, we take for granted, she cannot perform unassisted, including going to the bathroom, cooking meals, taking a shower, getting dressed and the list goes on. My sister has always been the most independent person that I know and has been the one that always helped all of us and anyone else but never needed the help, she has always taken care of herself and everyone around her so this has been a tough transition, it is a work in progress to say the least.

My sister is the strongest person that I know and that being said after 7 plus years of fighting for her life, it has taken its toll on her in every way. She has always bounced back so quickly from everything and pushed herself after cancer, as she LOVED the gym and working and being around her friends and family, she dove back into her life head first. Now there have certainly been times she simply retreats and isolates. The stress of not being able to work and take care of herself and her endless medical bills and loss of independence is weighing on my sister so heavily at this point. This is frightening to me and my family and ALL of her friends as stress can trigger TM. Melissa should be back in physical therapy in the next couple of months which helps her so much since she has always loved the gym anyway and it has always been her stress relief, it helps her feel more normal and like she is making progress. She only gets so many physical therapy appointments every year because of insurance purposes so these times are very important to all of us.

We do not know what the future holds for my sister but our goal for Melissa would be to find her an accessible place to live and function once again. If she was able to live in a fully handicapped accessible home, I believe her spirits would lift dramatically. She has ahard time getting in and out and has two dogs she adores that have been with her through all of this and she doesn't get to take them on long walks anymore, she hasn't been able to cook for herself in over a year, it's the simple things she misses the most, the things that we don't even realize are privileges and luxuries. Another goal would be to raise enough to put hand controls on Melissa's car once shecan get one as her car was on a lease which made sense 3 years ago but not today, that lease ends in May. She hasn't been able to drive in over a year and having to depend on everyone else to get her fromplace to placeand all of her appointments is tough and she just doesn't have that independence anymore which is such a big loss.

While our WONDERFUL community has come together to support Melissa, that money goes quickly. My sister and I would also love to help raise awareness about Transverse Myelitis as it is such an unknown and relatively unstudied disease. It is hard to get funding for TM since the disease isn't "popular" but it is so important to us as this disease is SO MUCH MORE than not walking. My sister would be so happy if she could help represent this disease and be there for anyone and everyone who has any questions or feels like they can't handle all the hard things that come with TM. Just reach out to us, I know she will do whatever she can to help anyone she can.

We will continue to share her story until she is in a comfortable living place and can find her independence once again.

Any donation of any amount is much needed and so appreciated.

Have Questions? Contact the organizer of this campaign now:


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I was looking up some Builders Of accessible homes Here's a link http://www.kojeski.com/handica p-accessible-construction/

posted by Brent White 1 month ago

Keep up the awesome work!! Hope you get the house you're looking for! Stay strong KCCO

posted by Tony Knowles 1 month ago

Sending prayers for a positive outcome with the tests, fight strong fight hard.

posted by Heather Brinkley 2 months ago

Hey Melissa, I just wanted to say that when I saw your face on the Chive, when you were being wheeled into the restaurant, I couldn't help but shed a few tears for you. I know we don't know each other but when I saw your smile and read your story I couldn't move on without helping even if it was just a little. It's impossible not to want for you after seeing your smile. Please get better and Chive On!

posted by Eric Kunst 3 months ago

Saw your recent post about your month debacle with pneumonia. Keep getting better and keep that smile going strong. KCCO lil lady!

posted by John Cole 3 months ago

Amazing! Here is my favorite quote from my favorite movie "What Dreams May Come" "Thought is real Physical is the illusion" If this is all a test, I am pretty sure you have passed multiple times over again! Don't give up ~ you are an inspiration to so many... Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday's Sending you lots of love and light

posted by Jennifer Anderson 4 months ago

Please don't stop with the updates. I LOVE hearing from you!

posted by Bruce Wohldmann 4 months ago

Keep up the hard hard work I'm keeping an eye on you !!! KCCO Sweet Melissa

posted by Robert Maske 4 months ago

I'm originally from Kent Island (and a loyal Chivette), and seeing your story on the Chive was pretty incredible. It's wonderful to see such inspiring stories with familiar faces from home- first your story, and now what you've done for Addy and her family. It's truly amazing! KCCO

posted by Megan Christopher 5 months ago

Keep being positive beautiful Melissa. God Bless you and your family. KCCO!

posted by Joshua Horne 5 months ago

May God Bless you and may he keep you safe and heal you. I am a single mom of four so I wish I could help you more. All I can do is say a prayer for you. I read your story and I could only imagine your struggle and pain. We should all be thankful for our health because we can never know how life can change. Keep your head up and continue fighting :)

posted by Danitza Gonzalez 5 months ago

KCCO Melissa!!! We got your back!

posted by Shawn Eggebrecht 5 months ago

We're all so happy. You got this now. Just keep it up, and never stop fighting. With all the love in the world, Shawn and Megan.

posted by Shawn Eggebrecht 5 months ago

Hi Please help my daughter it has lost much blood

posted by Dea Dea 6 months ago

I donated my last because your truly an inspiration to many. I know with prayer someone will help me too.

posted by Sylvia Romero 6 months ago

Hi Melissa, just wanted to let you know I cried for over 3 hours when I read your story. It hit so close to home and I just couldn't control my emotions. I am so happy to see you received the miracle you deserve. I am 30 and have multiple medical issues and this year I have been when chair bound. Reading your story just brought out some much emotion because I could honestly feel what you are going through. I am so sorry life has dealt you such a hard hand, but your spirit and determination brought a smile to my face. I know all the money in the world will not being back your legs, but I am so happy you will be able to live comfortable and not have to worry any more. It's amazing at the amount of good people left in this world. If things ever slow down I would like to chat sometimes. It is nice to share stories and experiences. My email is jtrosclair0927@att.net. My name is Jodi Trosclair. Hope to hear from you.

posted by Jodi Trosclair 6 months ago

Melissa! Thank YOU! For what you represent and the motivation you summon on others... Makes for a better place to live in Y'know? Would love to chat w you ... If you do pls drop a line... rafagaytan@gmail.com Chive on! From Tucson AZ... Show the rest of us the meaning of a smile! :)

posted by Rafael Gaytan 6 months ago

Stay strong Melissa! There is no way I can relate to your struggle, just know that you have touched a lot of people with your strength. Hell, over 12,000 Chivers smashed all fundraising records. And they did that because they believe in you. KCCO

posted by Randy Maloney 6 months ago

so the paralysis is caused by autoimmune response ? try looking thru www.curezone.com and www.earthclinic.com (Ted's remedies) for possible help. read that boron/borax might help eliminate parasites/pathogens that may be attacking the spinal column and causing the problem.

posted by Fook Mee Lo 6 months ago

Stay strong, Melissa. I know it's hard to believe this at times but i really do believ everything happens for a reason. You are such an inspiring person with an amazing story. As of right now there are over 12,000 people who have donated who must feel the same way. Keep persevering...stay strong and know that there are people who have never even met you who are here for you. Stay strong!

posted by Josh Roys 6 months ago

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Recent Donations (12,402)

$411,636 raised by 12,402 people in 6 months.


Landon Tompkins

4 days ago


It's not much, but I wanted to send something your way. I hope you are doing well. Keep that beautiful smile shining!



Matthew corey

5 days ago


No words can describe. Please keep fighting!!!!!!!



Justin Tuma

6 days ago


Keep calm and stay strong




7 days ago



Jodi Lare

9 days ago (Monthly Donation)



Jared Hess

13 days ago (Monthly Donation)



Michael Rose

13 days ago



Eric Hollingworth

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Karlton Bekis

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1-10 of 12402 donations


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