Melanie Bockus was in absolute shock when she noticed all the support she had received on the GoFundMe page created by her daughter. She can’t thank everyone enough for their contributions which are allowing her to take the rest she needs as a cancer patient. Melanie’s history with cancer is layered, beginning with the first detection in 2009 with breast cancer. After a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation; Melanie was cancer-free until 2019 whereby new cancer had formed in her left breast. After which, she decided to go ahead and make the difficult choice of receiving a double mastectomy. With this, she went through chemotherapy and radiation, once more, and was cancer-free for the following two years. In August of 2021, cancer was detected in the lymph nodes under her left arm. Melanie took this last discovery especially hard as she said: “As I know, and have read plenty about metastatic cancer, it’s not always one you can beat”. Melanie is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments, for the third time in just over the span of ten years. With this form of treatment being the only accessible means because of the ongoing spread of cancer in her lymph nodes, surgery and radiation are no longer an option.
Despite the rollercoaster ride Melanie has been through, she shared words of encouragement for anyone else battling against cancer. “Cancer is scary. It’s the one word nobody wants to hear, but it doesn’t mean a death sentence. Keep faith”. Melanie spoke of her sources of strength, one of which being her mother that passed away from cancer. She described that it is now her fight that she must carry for the both of them. The other source of motivation that keeps her going is her children. The family has a symbiotic relationship, they need each other; and so, Melanie forces herself to stay strong for them.
Melanie’s motto is to never give up – that thinking positively is essential. She embraces the good times in life to make memories with great friends and her family. Stating audaciously that “none of us are getting out of here alive so love your life no matter what you have been through.” She describes the importance in living ones’ life to the fullest, telling those that matter that you love them, and making sure to give your children an extra hug.
The money that was raised for Melanie demonstrates a struggle that many may neglect when considering the challenges endured by a cancer patient. Not only do cancer patients face immense hurdles while fighting for their health; but, after the 15-week paid sick leave from the government, patients are left with financial responsibilities which they cannot always meet. Melanie is an example out of, no doubt, a great number that must juggle financial responsibilities while going through tiring treatments. Melanie argues that the support received from the government should be over the duration of a year to adequately cover the time lost from the surgeries, treatments, and doctor appointments. Melanie speaks for all those fighting cancer, “We are fighting to survive, and all the financial problems are just another unneeded stress on us. We are too weak and ill to work. We need support.”
Even with all the challenges that Melanie has had to face, both health and financial; Melanie remains strong and determined to fight her cancer for the third time. Aspiring to, one day, when all her treatments are over and COVID settles down, go on a vacation with her loved ones. However, until the day she is hoping for comes, the one where she is cancer-free, she will keep on fighting.