Melissa Joy Starr
In September 2015, Melissa was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to her liver. At the point of her original diagnosis, she had been suffering unimaginable pain and still managed to rally her remarkable spirit to console her friends and family with her diagnosis. She endured chemotherapy in hopes of putting her cancer in remission, but ultimately the cancer spread to the point of taking over her entire system of organs and she was put into hospice in April 2016. On May 25, 2016, 11 days after celebrating her 47th birthday and a mere 8 months after her diagnosis, she was ready to rest in eternal peace.
Melissa was my best friend of many, many years. The years that make a person no longer just a friend but family. She was my person, the person that sang to me on my birthday, that held my leg for the birth of my son, that stayed on the phone until I fell asleep when the miles separated us because she knew I was afraid. But she wasn't just that person for me. I shared this special person with so many, if you knew Melissa's heart, you were as special to her as she IS to you. She was the kind of friend who encouraged the best in you, wanted the best for you, with a mischievousness that made the most mundane day an adventure.
Melissa was a brave spirit.. One of her favorite quotes was "Don't Quit Before The Miracle" and Melissa was no quitter! Her miracles are her self respect, her ability to be present for her friends and family, and the gift of love she found in her wife Dawn to whom she married in 2010. Throughout her journey, she had become such an inspiration to other women (and men), ready to help a friend in need, to lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen, with the wisdom of someone who had really been there.
It was Melissa's final wish in lieu of flowers that money be donated to Colon Cancer research and to help others get tested earlier than the suggested age of 50. In the months that followed her passing, I needed to do something to feel connected to her, to find a way to channel my grief into something productive. I had found a bracelet project to make for myself and in doing so, the idea came to me to make the bracelets and sell them to raise the money for to see Melissa's Wish realized. I named my project Melissa's Wishes and with a goal of 100 bracelets in mind, I got to work. I am very proud and happy to see this money go to her cause.
I am so grateful to have had Melissa in my life and with that, the friends and family who have supported her and this project.