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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Cancer & mom: a mother’s road to recovery

A mother, wife, sister, mentor and friend — an incredible woman in every aspect — Melinda Mitchell received the devastating diagnosis of an aggressive form of melanoma on May 14 of this year, life-altering news, which affected not only her life but the lives of her loved ones as well.

The staggering cost of treatment for Mitchell’s melanoma, which has spread to her liver and lungs, has resulted in added stress on the existing hardship the family has been faced with after the prognosis.

Kaylie Mitchell, Mississippi State University junior        art major and daughter of Melinda Mitchell, along with friend Hagan Walker, senior electrical engineering major, began to brainstorm ideas about what they could do to ease the situation, and eventually, they came up with, a website dedicated to benefitting  Melinda Mitchell and fighting melanoma.

Kaylie Mitchell said upon hearing of her mother’s condition she felt vulnerable, but as the days passed, she knew she wanted to bring awareness to cancer.

“As soon as Mom was diagnosed, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of helplessness. There was nothing I could do to change the fact that she had cancer. That was a dark place to be,” she said. “But eventually, I decided that I may not be able to change the diagnosis, but I could change people’s knowledge about cancer and get them to join this fight with us.”

Initially, Melinda Mitchell underwent three cycles of Yervoy   treatments which cost $30,000 each, and they proved ineffective. Subsequently, doctors advised Melinda to undergo treatments of an experimental drug in a facility seven hours away in Florida. She will receive this treatment for the next two years; however, the cost of travel alone will reach nearly $10,000 by the end of the two years.

Melinda Mitchell described the effects of cancer on everyday life and said the diagnosis removed the ability to partake in activities that most people take for granted.

“It takes away a lot of my freedoms of the things I enjoy – anything outdoors: fishing, working in the yard, grilling out,” she said. “Going anywhere for long periods of time or riding in a car for more than an hour is rough because I just get so tired.”

Melanoma is considered one of the most lethal forms of cancer, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Mitchell described the severity of her disease and said people fail to grasp its harmful nature.

“(Melanoma) is an outright killer, and I think it is one of the least recognized cancers by people, and they don’t realize the magnitude of this disease. There is no cure. There are treatments, but this never goes away. Not really,” she said.

Kaylie Mitchell said her mother is immensely respected and not only has the initiative, but also the heart to go above and beyond anything she is asked to do. And although she may be battling cancer at the moment, she is resilient toward the disease.

“I think cancer picked a pretty tough opponent this time, and while my mom has such courage and strength in this trial, I don’t think she should have to fight alone,” Kaylie Mitchell said. “It is unnerving to see her hooked up to machines and monitors and to see cancer changing her appearance and forcing her to fight harder and harder for life, but she is doing it with courage and a smile on her face.” has already raised $8,046 through its campaign, and the cause has been trying to reach the national level with exposure on “Ellen.” Kaylie Mitchell said Ellen Degeneres was tweeted and contacted via Facebook,  and she shared her story in an entry for her show

“If       we  were to get this story to the Ellen show, obviously I would want people to look at the cancerand project, but mostly I hope people realize that behind the scary word of cancer, there are actually people struggling with the disease everyday. My mother is not just another number,” she said.

If  you would like to donate to help Melinda Mitchell and her family, please visit 

As Kaylie Mitchell put it, “(Melinda) is incredible. She’s made a difference in the lives of so many, and I hope people choose to make a difference in hers.”

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Cancer & mom: a mother’s road to recovery