Melissa’s Life

Melissa’s Life, Melissa’s Story, Melissa’s Example
Melissa Vosburg – daughter, sister, dear friend and teacher – was a bright, beautiful, engaging and happy 35 year old; vibrant, happy and full of life. In the fall of 2012, she begun to experience ‘migraine’ headaches, which unfortunately run in the family. The migraines increased in frequency and severity over Thanksgiving and approaching Christmas. By Christmas week, it was clearly an issue and at her family’s insistence, she agreed to see the doctor right after the holidays. Christmas was very difficult – her headache was so severe that she stayed in bed most of the morning and when she finally got up, she was so light sensitive that she wore sunglasses in the house.

The next day, her mom took her to the doctor. Based on symptoms and family history, he agreed it was likely migraines but scheduled a CT scan just to be sure. The CT revealed swelling and shifting in her brain and she was advised to immediately consult a neurosurgeon. An exam and surgical biopsy followed. December 28, 2012 is the day we all lost our innocence. Melissa was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, The most common—and most aggressive—type of brain cancer.

The weeks that followed were full of treatments, consults, a surgery to partially remove the tumors and more treatments. Through it all, Melissa maintained her spirit and an unbelievable courage. Her common saying was “It is what it is” and she refused to dwell on why or show any self-pity. She was and is, a hero.

On February 8th, 2013, Melissa participated in the Orlando Miles for Hope, won a plaque for top 3 fund raiser, spoke and completed the survivor walk. Afterwards, we had a bit to eat and she enjoyed a chocolate waffle.

Melissa began chemo and radiation therapy that week. She was SO excited as she couldn’t wait to start fighting back. We sat together on our iPads planning a cruise for after her 6 weeks round of radiation. She was herself all week but by Friday she was suffering – severe headaches and pressure, she couldn’t eat so couldn’t take her oral meds and was nauseous. Saturday, February 16th, 2013 Melissa’s battle had been fought; she passed into God’s loving arms surrounded by her family – mom (Sue), dad (Jeff), brother (Matt), and sister (Stephanie).

From diagnosis to death, Melissa’s journey was only 50 days.

Like so many families, we were unaware of the prevalence of brain cancer. When Melissa heard that it is as common as breast cancer but receives less than 1/10th of the funding, she asked why. We explained that Susan G. Komen’s legacy was remarkable marketing and her pink ribbon had become a global icon. Melissa pondered and said “Then I will become the ‘Susan G. Komen’ of brain cancer.

This site and the efforts it embodies are her family’s efforts to make that dream a reality.

If you have a Melissa story that you’d like to share, please post it below.

7 thoughts on “Melissa’s Life

  1. Tammy Lewis

    I met Melissa in the summer (late June) of 2012. It was like we knew each others for years. We made an immediate connection. She was my soul mate. We shared numerous talks about education, life, family, and more. It was a devastating time when I found out about her cancer. I walked with her through her journey. She was strong, full of life, and so insightful. I miss her TREMENDOUSLY. She never let the CANCER define her. She was AMAZING (and continues to be). I will walk for her and she will be there with me. I spend time talking her often. I WILL be and ALWAYS have been TEAM MELISSA! I love you MV!

    1. Toni Harrell

      Melissa and I worked as Reading Coaches at Midway. She is truly an inspiration to all. She has left her mark at Midway with everyone she touched whether it’s a book she donated or a poster she created. As I walk through some of the classrooms it is easy to see how she impacted those who meant a lot to her. Many teachers have posters she created, with her beautiful handwriting or a book with her stamp.

      The week before we got out for the Christmas holidays Melissa and I had, yes we HAD, to spend about 5000.00 on books. We went to the scholastic book warehouse (they were having a huge sale). We were only supposed to be there for 2 hours, we ended up spending the whole day and still did not spend all the money so we had ( we were so bummed, LOL) to go back the next day which happened to be the last day of school before the holidays. She wasn’t feeling good, had a headache, but assured me it was because she had not stopped at Dunkin Donuts for her morning coffee. She and I had the best time running through the aisles filling up grocery carts full of books. Once again we were late getting back to school. We laughed so much as we sped back to school trying to make dismissal. Even with her headache she beamed every time we talked about all the books we bought and ran right in to see Mrs. Marshall and proudly announced that we had bought approximately $10,000 worth of books for $5000.

      I truly believe that Melissa reminds me every now and again that she is watching. Anytime a book falls off a shelf, I know it’s her. The amazing thing is, for the first 3 months after she left us the only books that would fall off of random shelves were books she either loved or were her personal ones.

      Thank you to the Vosburg family for giving us such a wonderful person to get to know and love. She will always hold a very special place in my heart. Love and miss you MV!

  2. Tim Freund

    My fondest memories of Melissa were the few times that I would come over to the Vosburg house to watch Chicago Bears games with Jeff. Melissa would often watch them with us. We would laugh, cuss and cry at the ups and downs of our beloved hometown team. Good times – better memories. GO BEARS!

  3. Lewis McCorvey

    When i read this story , i signed up to show support and do Melissa’s race.
    Reading this story again makes be forget how hot it was today and those tough cobblestones we ran on.
    And though i came in 4th overall, Melissa and her spirit lives on through her parents at todays race and beyond who are in 1st place in there effort to keep her spirit alive .

    Thanks Sue and Jeff and keep her spirt alive ,

    Sincerely ,

    Lew McCorvey

  4. Leonard Shea


    I am a teacher from Our Lady of Lourdes high school in Guelph Canada.

    Below is a link to a music video we put together to raise awareness for brain cancer.  It was shot at the ten4ten fund raiser where we raised $300,000!

    Looking to share this video with as many people as possible to demonstrates what community can do. 

    Here is the tweet we put out. Please go to my page and retweet my pinned tweet. It would mean so much to me.

    RAISING AWARENESS FOR BRAIN CANCER. New music vid SUNSHINE Nathan Finoro shaves head in memory of grand father’s brain cancer

    Please follow me on Twitter @leonard_shea

    I would really appreciate a retweet.


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