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Paralyzed former cancer patient stunned by strangers' kindness

After being dealt one devastating blow after another, a record-breaking $390,000 in donations has changed the life of a disabled former cancer patient in Maryland (donation page: h... More After being dealt one devastating blow after another, a record-breaking $390,000 in donations has changed the life of a disabled former cancer patient in Maryland (donation page: http://www.gofundme.com/HopeForMMS). Melissa Smith was 22 when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma; now 29 she has beat cancer twice. But last year she received more heartbreak after losing sensation in her limbs: a diagnosis of the rare disease Transverse Myelitis. Within three weeks she was paralyzed from the waist down. Her third-floor apartment became a prison, she was kicked out of nursing school, and she sank into a depression. "I've always been a positive person," she says. "But in the last year it's been hard to look at the bright side." Enter the site Chive (http://chivecharities.org) which featured her story after sister Stephanie's relentless campaign including a five-page email and social networking. At one point donations were coming in at a rate of $837 per minute. The current total is over $390,000, which will be used to help Melissa's medical bills and provide a down payment for a home that will restore her independence. Says sister Stephanie, "it changed her life in 6 hours." Melissa says it is also the messages of support from around the world keep her going: "I don't know why everybody took my story to heart, but I appreciate it more than I could ever put into words." Less
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