Why I'm Running
My son, Jake, was diagnosed with leukemia in May of 2019 at 14 months old. Shortly after starting chemotherapy, we were told that a bone marrow transplant would be his best bet at long term success. Luckily, Jake was matched with a donor and received his stem cells on October of 2019. He is currently cancer free and enjoying life post BMT! I want to support other kids like Jake and the friends he made while receiving his treatment at Akron Children's Hospital!
About Team Mela

On Tuesday, July 14th, 2020, at approximately 4:30pm, our world was flipped completely upside down. Our sweet, HILARIOUS, joy spreading Mela was diagnosed with high-risk Neuroblastoma. After three ER visits and one 3-day hospital admission for constipation, my momma gut, that just knew something else was going on, was proven to be correct. I’ll never forget the moment when the doctor opened the door to our hospital room and somberly entered with his entire team. He knelt by Mela's bed and quietly muttered the words with tears in his eyes, “I’m so sorry, but your daughter has cancer”. The next week was a fast-paced whirlwind of emotions, testing, diagnosing, and really (REALLY) hard conversations. The good news (miracle of God): she defied the odds and was diagnosed before the cancer had spread (extremely rare for high-risk Neuroblastoma). She had fallen off a swing at the end of June which caused a huge hematoma (bleed) around her tumor which caused the symptoms that led to diagnosis.

The very next day, Mela underwent a tumor biopsy and port placement and by that Friday, she started chemo. She was in the hospital for nearly 3 months with multiple complications including fevers, GI bleeding, infections, and an infected blood clot in her heart. On August 18th, she underwent a total tumor resection that also discovered the tumor had invaded her colon which required approximately 5cm of her colon to be removed. Since her diagnosis, she has completed 6 cycles of chemo, multiple surgeries, two stem cell transplants, and radiation. We are currently still in the hospital recovering from her second stem cell transplant that caused severe liver complications. When she is fully recovered, and/or well enough to proceed, she will continue treatment with six months of immunotherapy. Because high risk Neuroblastoma has a high (50%) relapse rate and there is no proven cure for relapse, Mela will likely be entered into a trial for the next few years to increase her chance of long-term survival. Like many other pediatric cancer treatment regimens, there is a risk for long term complications such as hearing loss, infertility, heart/kidney/liver problems, and even secondary cancers.

Over the last 11 months, our emotions as parents have gotten the best of us, but Mela has never let her diagnosis dim her sparkle. She travels through each admission and harsh treatment with grace, smiles, and humor and is constantly reminding us of the strength and fight she has within her. She encourages us daily to keep the hope and to look forward to the days that she can be with her brothers, swim, ride her dirt bikes, and just be a kid again. She showed us in the beginning of this cancer diagnosis that she is a odds-defying miracle, and she will show us again and again, all with a huge smile on her face. Better days ARE ahead.

$1,505.00 of $700 goal

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Recent Donations

The Carroll Family
7 days ago
$48.00
Tim Angie & Kendel
9 days ago

Proud and honored to help in anyway we can

$50.00
Jessica DeFago
10 days ago

Good luck Matt! Sending hugs and love for all the families and these brave kiddos.

$25.00
Brianna and César Robinson
11 days ago

Go Team Mela!

$50.00
The Boone Fam
11 days ago

Proud of you Matt Kress!

$50.00
Aunt Lisa and Skipper
11 days ago

Proud of you Matt

$50.00
The Lingenfelter Family
11 days ago
$50.00
Greg Mastroianni
11 days ago
$200.00
The Schlater’s
15 days ago

Good luck! Run hard for a great cause

$100.00
Gordon Family
15 days ago
$100.00
Dave & Cheri Kress
16 days ago

Honoring Jake and supporting Team Mela! So proud of you for volunteering ❤️

$100.00
Maria (Telloni) Tazzi
17 days ago

You are truly an inspiration! Thank you for being the good we all need to aspire to be in this world.

$100.00
Karyn Simmons
18 days ago

Go team Mela!

$240.00
Perdrix Family
18 days ago

We love you all! You’re amazing, Matt!

$120.00
Laurich Family
18 days ago
$48.00
The Simons
18 days ago
$48.00
Groen Family
18 days ago

❤️

$48.00
Melinda
18 days ago
$48.00