From Melina’s Dad

A friend and mentor of mine had a sign that hung above the whiteboard in the front of his classroom that had the following quote: “The true test of a man is how he handles adversity.” Whenever he would reference that quote with his students, he would remind them that we all face adversity in our lives and would ask them to answer these questions to themselves: How will you handle it? How will you overcome it?
He passed away suddenly in June 2019. During the eulogies at his funeral, several examples were given when former students would remember that quote, and the discussions that stemmed from it, to help get them through difficult situations in their lives.
I thought of this quote over and over the first weekend Melina was in the hospital. How does she respond at four-years-old to her diagnosis? How would she overcome it?
Melina responded by showing her resiliency. She had two brain surgeries in two days on just Tylenol. The neurosurgery team described the feeling of a person’s shunt being tapped to a bee sting on their skull. Melina had this done twice, both times for a duration of over 5 minutes, and never flinched or winced. Melina was fitted for her radiation mask with no sedation and did not move or make a sound. According to the radiation techs, most adults aren’t able to do that.
Melina overcame her adversity through her never ending joy for the things she loved in life. Her last week at home, she was still able to communicate through squeezes and the occasional head nods. By doing this, she was able “to ask” to sit by the pool, rock with Poppy, listen to Oldies with Daddy, lay in bed with her sisters, and cuddle at night with Mommy.
How are we handling the adversity of losing Melina? By choosing joy in everything we do. How are we overcoming the adversity? None of us are able to alone. As strong as our family is, it’s still not enough. How we are overcoming it though is with the help of each and everyone of you that share her story, support the foundation, and never stop fighting the fight for her!