"When I found out I had cancer in 2008, when I was 11, the first thing thought that came to my mind was, “Am I going to lose my hair?” It was really scary to me at that age, because, I was a very shy kid. I was very self conscious about losing my hair and what people would think of me. Would people stare? Would people judge me? Would people know how much it bothered me? I wanted to cry every time someone stared, so, I bought a wig and never went outside without it. The only time I would take it off was at home or at the hospital when I was admitted for chemo. My oncologist used to joke around with me all the time about taking off my wig, but I couldn’t; I was scared.
"Now, fast forward to 2019, and I find out I have cancer again, only now I’m 23. I’m finally starting to be comfortable in my own skin, but, it has taken 11 years. I have lots of people who have encouraged me over the years and made me feel beautiful and special, no matter what I look like; hair or no hair. Although, I may still wear a wig sometimes when I go outside, because it still bothers me when people stare, this time, I will be more confident because I am beautiful and I know I have lots of people that love me the way I am.
"It still has taken a lot of courage to be able to post this picture, but, when you have cancer, you have to accept the ugly parts too. Cancer is a horrible disease, but there can still be good things that come from it. You realize how important the little things in your life are and it makes you more aware of how your life can change at any second. Make time for the people you love, because, you never know when something might happen to them."
When Meleah was re-diagnosed in 2019, we knew it was serious, but at the time we thought we were only looking at breast cancer. Then we knew we were looking at metastatic breast cancer. We prayed it was contained to the lymph glands and placed our hopes in a new antibody treatment and future double mastectomy so she could be cured. Then we discovered she had a second type of cancer that was on her left humerus bone. The doctors at MD Anderson decided to postpone treating Meleah's breast cancer to focus on the more aggressive sarcoma bone cancer. Meleah underwent some difficult rounds of strong chemo. Then she had surgery to remove a large portion of her left humerus bone and replace it with a steel prosthesis (She had a similar surgery on her right leg to remove osteosarcoma from her femur when she was 11). Then a CT scan showed spots in her lungs. We prayed like everything that it was the breast cancer and not the sarcoma that had spread to her lungs. It was the sarcoma.
Meleah has gone through more rounds of different types of chemo to try to stop the growth and spread of the tumors in her lungs. She decided that she could not stomach more of the in-patient treatments that were really taking their toll on her and keeping her away from her family. For the past few months she has been taking an experimental pill-form of chemo. It has slowed the progression, but not stopped it. Meanwhile, she has restarted antibody treatment for the breast cancer that remains its own serious threat.
After the last round of scans, the doctors told Meleah that it looks like surgery and a cure are not realistic and that she will need to be on chemo for the rest of her life. How long that will be we do not know, but one thing is for sure: Meleah wants to spend as much quality time as possible with her family. That is why we have started this GoFundMe for her. I have a goal to raise $10,000 for Meleah to have a dream vacation with her family while she still has the health to do so. But time is against us. This very day (4/6/21) Meleah is on her way to the ER at MD Anderson Hospital because she has been experiencing pain and difficulty breathing, which is a new and scary development. The doctors want to do a chest CT to see if the tumors have started spreading again.
Would you please make a donation to allow Meleah to make some special and lasting memories this summer with her partner Damion and their two precious children, Aniyah (age 5) and Avalynn (age 3)? All proceeds will go directly to Meleah and be used to help her make the most of the time she has left with us. Thank you! Love, Michael & Priscilla
- Eric Bernhardt
- Ron and Carla Broussard
- Linda Woody
- Susan McDonald
- Henry Hyde
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