Main fundraiser photo

A Final Wish for Melissa Pappageorgas

Donation protected
Help finish Paddle Out, a documentary about how the ocean helped heal her physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learn more about the film at

In 2012, Melissa was able to stay healthy enough to work out three times a week and surf three or four times a week. The salty ocean waters helped Melissa stay out of the hospital for almost three years.

In 2015, Melissa’s health declined when her lungs stopped working due to extreme damage from Cystic Fibrosis. She was placed on life support (ECMO) and on the organ transplant list. She dreamed about returning to the salty ocean’s healing waters during this time. Twenty-three days later, Melissa received a double lung transplant. While recovering, she started documenting her challenging experience with her iPhone and keeping a journal in hopes of making a documentary about her connection with the ocean and her health.

Melissa connected with producer Sebi Lee* to help with her film. Sebi is an Emmy® Award-winning creative storyteller who has produced, directed, and written documentaries, short stories, news, commercials, and music videos since 1999. Her documentaries have been featured on PBS. Melissa and Sebi spent hours together talking, filming, and planning the documentary. They became very close friends.

Three years later, in December 2018, Melissa’s body rejected her new lungs, and she lost her battle within days. On the day of her passing, Melissa asked Sebi to continue to film and complete the documentary as they had planned. Sebi is committed to keeping her promise to her dear friend.

After almost five years of collecting data and filming, Melissa’s documentary is nearing completion. We aim to bring it onto a streaming platform so people around the world can see and be touched by her remarkable strength and determination.

But we must raise the final production costs to fulfill Melissa’s dream of finishing the documentary. Therefore, we are connecting with everyone who knew and loved Melissa to help us financially. With your donations, we believe we can do this. (And even if you cannot give financially, please help us by sharing her GoFundMe page with others.)

Let’s bring her story to the big screen!

Mama Lori

*Sebi Lee has produced award-winning art shows and several hundred short stories for the daily news magazine at Arizona Public Media, the PBS affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. She has worked for the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) in Los Angeles since 2002 as a consultant, producer, program coordinator, mentor, and lecturer.



  • Janet Lowery
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Leslie Russo
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Caitlin Sheetz
    • $400 
    • 9 mos
  • Laurie Wilson
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
  • Ruth E Yarme
    • $25 
    • 11 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Lori Pappageorgas
Monterey, CA
Melissa Pappageorgas

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee