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Support Melissa: Young Mom Fighting Rare Cancer

Melissa (age 28) had a perfect, uneventful pregnancy that culminated with the birth of Isabelle JoHannah on January 13, 2019. 

Postpartum, Melissa began to notice intermittent leg pain. Her pain became more frequent and worsened as her maternity leave progressed. Over the following weeks, she saw her OBGYN doctor, a family practice physician, and finally a chiropractor.

On March 8, with excruciating leg pain, her husband, Jake, and her mother, Sonja, took Melissa to the Bemidji Sandford ER for evaluation. A CT scan revealed she had metastatic, stage 4 cancer with a abdominal mass and lesions in her kidney, liver, pancreas, and bone. She was immediately hospitalized for pain control, insertion of a tube into her kidney, and a biopsy. 

On March 19, Melissa was diagnosed with pleomorphic high grade sarcoma, a rare and fast spreading soft tissue cancer best treated at Mayo as an inpatient with chemotherapy. Melissa was immediately transferred from Bemidji to Rochester, MN for continued pain control and treatment of this aggressive cancer at the Methodist Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital.

Jake has been a constant source of strength and comfort to Melissa from early in the mornings and throughout the long, and often painful, nights. Both are thankful for the loving care of their parents, Scott & Sonja Pelland and Mike & Sallie Bahnmiller, in providing for the daily needs of little Isabelle, just barely 2 months old. Isabelle's visits to the hospital have proven to be great medicine for Melissa's spirit. 

For the foreseeable future, neither Melissa nor Jake will be working. For those that wish to donate financially, your support will help meet the growing list of needs during this critical period and remove the added strain of immense medical bills and lack of wages for this young family.  Melissa's CaringBridge site: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/melissabahnmiller

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, for your hope and love. It means so much, and will make all the difference for Melissa, Jake, and their families.

"And in such a short time the best day of being in the hospital giving life to the most precious little girl can turn right around to try and take your life away from her. Well baby girl, mama will never ever give up for you. Mama loves you and will be the strongest form of superwoman just for you love.... oh if the sky comes falling down for you, there's nothin in this world I wouldn't do."

Baby Isabelle's visits are wonderful medicine for both mom and dad.

Family photo shoot just weeks prior to Melissa's unexpected hospitalization.

Donations (333)

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  • Anonymous
    • $200 
    • 4 yrs
  • Emily Lang
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs
  • Co-workers of Phillip Pelland From RMS
    • $40 
    • 4 yrs
  • Carla Rock
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs
  • A.W. Hastings T.E.A.M.
    • $85 
    • 4 yrs
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Becca and Wayne Baumbach
Warroad, MN
Jake Bahnmiller

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