When it comes to inspiration, it’s hard to top Jessica Melore’s story.
In 1998, she was a star tennis player for her high school in New Jersey, getting ready for prom and then off Princeton University in the fall. Then, out of nowhere, she suffered a massive heart attack as a result of a blood clot. The prognosis was not good; she was read her “last rites”. In a final attempt to save her life, doctors installed a Left Ventricular Assist Device to keep her heart beating. Days later, while unconscious, infection set in and doctors had to amputate her left leg.
Incredibly, Jessica recovered. She received a heart transplant. She went back to school. She was named prom queen. And went off to Princeton.
Just when it seemed her medical scares were behind her, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
And she beat it…
Then it came back…
And she beat it again…
“I’ve been through so much in my life, and feel so fortunate to have benefited from medical research and the kindness of other people. It’s important for me to give back and share my story to give others a sense of hope and inspiration. Everyone goes through something, medical or not, and I feel like they can connect with my story. It’s very meaningful for me, and I hope my story motivates others to continue their journey.”
Today she is fighting yet her third battle with cancer (endometrial cancer) with another round of chemo before she can claim another victory. Many people crumble in the face of such adversity. But not Jessica! She owns it, and is now a motivational speaker and a public health advocate. In September, Jessica purchased a medical wig from Andrew DiSimone, owner of HairPlaceNYC. She originally contacted the American Cancer Society since her insurance wouldn’t cover her wig. ACS referred her to Andrew, where he volunteers cutting and styling wigs for free. Inspired by her experience, Jessica decided to make her wig fitting into an event. It was broadcasted on Facebook Live, and covered by The New York Daily News and Glamour.com.
“Andrew is one of the most kind, generous, and selfless people I’ve ever met, and he’s extremely talented,” Melore said. “I’ve been through hair loss three times, and each time there’s a certain amount of nervousness about how you’re going to look. Andrew really put me at ease. His calming presence and warm personality really makes a difference.”