Melody Simmons was diagnosed with cancer when she was just a teenager.
She not only beat it, but she now works in support of so many other kids who are fighting it. She is in fundraising for Make-A-Wish in Rochester, NY - helping to bring lasting wishes come true to children faced with the unimaginable.
This is Melody's advice to anyone who may be struggling with a cancer diagnosis or another challenging medical condition.
"When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it would be the toughest battle I’d ever face.
For weeks we experimented with various radiation treatments and medicines. I experienced all the fun side effects, like losing my hair, going blind from acute diabetes and losing layers of my skin. Despite pushing my body to limits I didn’t even know existed, nothing worked.
My last hope was a bone marrow transplant. Within weeks I received the marrow of a beautiful, selfless stranger. My transplant was a success, but I was diagnosed with cancer again - post transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.
At that point I was so sick I had no idea what my address was, let alone what having lymphoma meant.
Today, I am 25 years old.
Cancer might have stolen my body, but there was no way I was going to let it steal the life I fought so hard to live. I never let cancer define who I am as a person. I never wanted to be remembered as 'the cancer girl' - instead I took the opportunities I received from being sick and made it my mission to instill that there is always hope, even in the darkness.
You face cancer...you can face the world."
*Melody's wish to meet Tom Brady came true, thanks to Make-A-Wish. If you wish to support an incredible organization making a life-changing difference for children and their families, click here.