In the fall of 2015 Melissa trained for and competed in a half marathon with her husband Michael. Even though she finished first in her age group, the reward was bitter sweet. As the race went on Melissa began having increasingly worse and worse abdominal cramping and pain. A few weeks after the race she found herself in the ER in such bad pain that she could hardly walk. Only a matter of weeks from the onset of symptoms, Melissa was hearing the words no one ever wants to hear, “You have cancer.” Diagnosed with Stage 4 BRAF mutated colorectal cancer, she is currently undergoing treatment at Duke Raleigh Cancer Center and is pursuing clinical trials for the next stage of treatment.
It would be easy for Melissa to dwell on the struggles that lie ahead and the toll that it is taking, but instead she has used this situation to teach and inspire others. Learning to be thankful in all times, not just the good, is what helps keep her moving forward and makes her a constant encouragement to those around her. Melissa teaches those around her every day to see the blessings that are all around.
Sickness can rob us of our endurance, our strength, and sometimes our dignities, but what Melissa tells everyone is that it can not take away her joy in being here today getting to look over at her kids, to smile at her husband, and to breathe the fresh air. For Melissa Wilkes life abounds even in the darkest places.
Message from Melissa Wilkes
This is the day The Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.
“This has always been my favorite scripture because it’s always been what I needed to walk through life. Not to grumble but rejoice. Since I was diagnosed with colon cancer I have constantly reminded myself that I will rejoice and be thankful. I have a wonderful husband, five sweet children and a mighty God. This is not something I can change but something I chose to honor God through. So I have chosen with Gods strength to share who Christ is with people God puts along the road. To God be the glory in the good and the hard times.”