In February of 2009, Melissa broke her leg and was rushed to the ER. Her doctor ordered an x-ray to determine the best way to fix her broken leg, and noticed an abnormality, causing them to order an MRI to get a better picture. Later that day, Melissa and her parents received news that no one should ever hear; their 13-year-old daughter had osteosarcoma. Her doctors found cancer in her right hip, femur, and knee. Melissa underwent several rounds ofchemotherapy and eventually had to have her bones fused due to complications from treatment. When she went into remission, her family was ecstatic.
The celebration was short lived because in May of 2010, doctors found cancer in Melissa’s lungs. She had chemotherapy and surgery on her lungs later that year, and went into remission again, this time for a year.
In 2011, her family received the news that Melissa had relapsed again in her lungs and would have to undergo chemotherapy and another surgery. The treatment was successful, but only for a short time, because Melissa relapsed for a third time in 2012. The family began looking for alternative treatments and ended up in Orlando for a clinical trial. The trial went well, and Melissa was declared in remission.