Melissa Tang, 4/20/90-12/20/17
My heart hurts immensely as I try to find the right words, but I wanted to make a tribute to my dear friend Melissa. Melissa’s battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer ended on December 20th, 2017, and she is finally pain-free and an angel above us all.
I truly believe each individual comes into your life for a reason. Melissa and I crossed paths back in June 2016 and we bonded over our cancer experiences, however, I knew we were going to be friends.
During my second cancer I decided to do a photoshoot. Melissa was a photographer and came across my photos and reached out to me. She asked if she could feature my story on her website/blog. Not only was she a very talented photographer, Melissa also created her own online shop called Hope 25 after her experience with breast cancer at the age of 25. She sold inspiration clothing, jewelry, and other items while spreading awareness and sharing other cancer fighter’s stories. I was very grateful that she wanted to help tell my story and spread awareness for the AYA cancer community.
After talking back and forth with her for a while, Melissa asked me if I wanted to do a photoshoot for Hope 25 and model some of her clothing items. I said yes (obviously) and we had a great time together! Our friendship continued to grow after that, and so did my Hope 25 clothing items haha! When I finished treatment for my second cancer in October 2016, I asked Melissa to do a survivor photoshoot for me. She agreed and the photos turned out beautifully.
Survivor Photoshoot – October 2016
As our friendship continued, Melissa and I decided to attend Stupid Cancer’s “CancerCon” together for the first time in April 2017. This is a weekend for young adults with cancer. We flew to Denver, Colorado together and had an amazing weekend. We got to meet hundreds of other cancer fighters, networked with other cancer organizations, attended classes of different topics relating to life with/after cancer, and celebrated life. We laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we got lost, ate bad pizza, and ate amazing donuts. We also got a group of girls together to do a Hope 25 photoshoot. It was cold, rainy, and decided to snow during the shoot, but we had a blast! On our final day we decided to do some hiking in the mountains and it was an experience I will never forget. After hiking we drove to the top of the mountain and together we felt like we were on top of the world!
Hope 25 photoshoot in Denver, CO
Chautauqua Trail – Boulder, CO
It was amazing to meet our other friends within the cancer community, but the experience really strengthened the bond Melissa and I had. We were both in remission at the time of attending CancerCon. We talked about many things and relapsing was one of them. Even though I had already experienced that, we discussed the forever fear of our cancers coming back. Like I said, we shared laughs, but also tears and fears. We had no idea what was to come after our memorable trip ended.
Melissa’s breast cancer returned and metastasized not long after our Denver trip. I will never forget her texts telling me that the cancer had returned. My heart hurt greatly for her, her husband, and her family. Why was a young woman who is selfless, kind, and inspiring getting cancer AGAIN? Why do any of these beautiful souls get cancer? It is a question we will always ask, but I do not think we will ever get the answer.
Melissa fought again with everything she had, and her motto was to “Punch Fear In The Face.” She truly and genuinely did that. I still cannot believe where we were 8 months ago and where we are now. The young adult cancer community has lost a handful of beautiful lives this year and the pain feels so heavy at times, however, it is amazing to see the support we have for one another during these times.
Melissa impacted hundreds of individuals, from her cancer experience, to her photography, to her shop. She was extremely generous, kind, and spread positivity to anyone she was around. I still cannot believe she is no longer here physically, but I am lucky to have another guardian angel watching over me. She will live on in all of us that loved her so much.
Melissa, I will never forget the moments we shared together and I will continue to live the best life I can because of you. Thank you for coming into my life, and I hope you and Michelle are having a blast together up there.
Until we meet again sweet angel. ❤