A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for December, 2010

Some Serious Gratitude

Nicholas, Mom, and I drove to Santa Barbara today and spent the day with Jaynie =) Shopping, beach, Rowan and Maclintock, lunch at Brophy Brothers… some serious gratitude…

So much gratitude, my joy from the day is spilling over into my letter of the day to Oprah.

Dear Oprah,

By the grace of God, I traveled today through Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and over the Cachuma Pass to a sight I will never forget—the crystal clear Pacific Ocean glowing with a light I have never seen before, with all of the Channel Islands lined up in a row. The spectacular sight made me think about how the most important things in life are not things. What I am writing to ask you for is not a thing, but it is certainly spectacular!

Oprah, will you please do a show on childhood cancer?

I am a sixteen year-old, cancer-surviving “soldier” in the Army against childhood cancer. Please know that I am not asking to be on your show. I am asking you to please have a show that will educate your audience that cancer is the #1 disease killing children. 80% of children who are diagnosed with cancer have advanced stages of the disease, compared to 20% in adults. If you would choose to shine your light on childhood cancer, this statistic alone could take a MAJOR tumble!

I think of how many children’s lives you could save with just one show. I think of the magnificent scene I had the blessing of viewing today and I imagine. I imagine all of those children who will never get to see anything like what I just saw today.

My gratitude sets me on fire to change what is and what should not be.

With my appreciation to my producer friends who keep reading my letters,


16 year-old author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Can’t Stop Imagining…

Dear Oprah,

My name is Melinda Marchiano, and I am sixteen years old. Three years ago this day, I was at Cottage Hospital receiving chemo for Hodgkin lymphoma. You can imagine my gratitude today. Really, unless you have been taken to the brink of death over and over again, you cannot—even with the best imagination—come close to knowing the elation I feel.

The gratitude I feel for my life spills over into deep care for children who are facing their own cancer diagnosis. Childhood cancer is the #1 disease killing children. 80% of children who are diagnosed with cancer have advanced stages of the disease, compared with 20% in adults. We have come far in helping adults become aware, but heart-wrenchingly, we as a society fall horribly behind in education about childhood cancer. The results of this lack of awareness are devastating!

For these reasons, I have joined with 51,000 others to ask you to please do a show on childhood cancer. I imagine what you could do; your voice reaches far. Gosh Oprah, my heart knows how much you can help.

Praying for this miracle… can’t stop imagining,


P. S. Hi Producers… hope you are having a nice day– me again:)

Oh What a Gift for the World!

Dear Oprah,

Hi, it’s me again, Melinda. I don’t mean to exasperate your producers by sending letters to you every day; I am part of the 51,000 people- Facebook movement asking you to do a show on childhood cancer. This is our way of expressing the urgency of our heartfelt request for you to give a voice to childhood cancer. I can honestly say that I am not aware of one person who is doing this so that they can have a moment of fame on your show, but rather, because we have seen the devastation and we want to share ways we can lessen it.

Childhood cancer is largely ignored by NCI and the American Cancer Society. They provide very little funding for research in comparison to adult cancers. Children with cancer are being killed by their treatments—we need less toxic treatments now. CureSearch and Children’s Oncology Group say that with adequate funding, a cure is within our reach. Will you please help to gather those wonderful philanthropists who want to make a difference by giving away their fortunes? We can cure childhood cancer by proper funding! Money! What an incredible gift we could share with the children of this world!!! It makes sense to me that finding a cure for childhood cancer would also help adults with cancer.

Let’s gather the people who care.

Let’s raise the funds.

Let’s strangle childhood cancer until there is no life left in it.

Oh what a gift for the world.

Let’s do it.

With utmost sincerity,


16 year-old author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

My Christmas Day Letter to Oprah


My Christmas Day Letter to Oprah…

Dear Oprah,

My name is Melinda Marchiano and I am sixteen years old. When I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Today, I am in remission and working hard to stop childhood cancer—yes, I am writing to you on Christmas Day. If I could open my heart for you to look inside, what you would see is a whole ton of gratitude. It is this gratitude inside me that drives me to become a voice for children who cannot speak for themselves.

Oprah, CureSearch and Children’s Oncology Group state that with adequate funding, a cure is within our reach.  I believe them. What you could do, by giving a voice to childhood cancer, is astronomical in scope. When children are diagnosed with cancer, 80% are at advanced stages—compared to 20% in adults. I cannot sit silently with my “cure” and allow my fellow young cancer patients to continue their battles without fighting with everything I have for their cure too. Just by raising awareness, we can all make a difference. Today is the day to begin to stop the suffering. We need awareness. We need funds for research. We need a cure. Today.

As I looked around the table today at all of my family at our Christmas feast, I could not have been more thankful. At the same time, I will admit that thoughts of the Nunn family… who lost their seven year-old son Max this past Thanksgiving Day to brain cancer…danced through my heart all day long.

Please Oprah, please do a show on childhood cancer,


Will the Real “Santa” Please Stand Up?

When people tell me, “I hope you get everything you want for Christmas,” I know they mean well and that their words come from love. What I really, really want is not a thing. And I know all of you who follow my blog know exactly what it is that I want. Could it be the same as my Make-A-Wish?

Today, in Panera, I noticed a collection box for Make-A-Wish, and it was stuffed with bills and coins. It made me smile to think how eager people are to support Make-A-Wish for all of the work they do to help children with life-threatening illnesses. It made me think about how there is no amount of money that people can give to Make-A-Wish that will make my wish come true.

My wish depends upon the answer of one person– Oprah.

What I want more than anything is for Oprah to help educate people about childhood cancer. With one show, she could save many children’s lives… it may just lead to a cure.

My “Santa” looks exactly like Oprah. It’s okay that I don’t know what is in the big bag yet.

I am praying… praying for that Christmas miracle to come true.

Cottage Hospital Gingerbread House

Larry Ate a Bag of Hershey Kisses

Happy Holidays everyone! Are there wrapping paper, tape, scissors, ribbon, bows, cookies, candy, Hershey Kisses everywhere? 

Yikes, we had near disaster tonight in our Christmas/pet chaos. It’s been raining for four days, and our dog Larry has been spending time inside with us during the day rather than his usual outdoor spot. Snowie, our Miss Princess pure white kitty, HATES the rain and climbs screens and screams incessantly until someone lets her in. Well, the laundry room is her usual spot at night, but during the day– especially with my brothers home– the washer and dryer are constantly running. Snowie HATES to be in the laundry room with the equipment running. So, here we have two animals indoors with us for days who are usually outside… and then I will add to the chaos…

Our other cat, Miss Smooth, Calm, Cool and Collected at all Times, Oreo, has been missing for nearly three days. She can’t stand to come in at night because she has to sleep in the laundry room with Snowie. It’s been raining hard and all of our family had become concerned about Oreo by today.

Guess who showed up?

Oreo. Who knows where she’s been? She’s pretty plump, not skinny like I thought she’d be. Maybe she was out eating baby frogs– yuck– she likes to eat baby frogs and I can hear a whole bunch of them “Ribbiting” out there.

Anyway, Oreo shows up and my mom sees her through the laundry room window. She takes the laundry, dumps it on her bed, and goes outside to check on Oreo, to be sure she was okay.

In the meantime, Larry spied the door my mom had momentarily left open to check on Oreo. Larry had a wonderful time with the shopping bags on my mom’s floor and had no problem in locating the one with the Hershey Kisses in no time flat.

Larry devoured half a bag– also in no time flat– before my mom discovered the scene of Larry with his nose in the bag gobbling. She scared the living daylights out of me with her scream!

The report from the Emergency Vet:

According to the amount of chocolate that Larry ingested, he will have a “mild” reaction.


Rain and pet chaos. Anyone else have a good story?

Larry and Oreo Curled up together in his Bed

Dear Cancer,

Dear Cancer,

Three years ago, on December 18, 2007, Dr. Dan called to tell me that my second biopsy revealed your identity– Hodgkin lymphoma. You were so clever in your hiding, so adept in disguising your destruction, that you nearly got away with suffocating me before we even found where you were lurking. I remember a feeling of power over you just learning your name. You became my instant enemy.

You did your very best Cancer, you really did. You fooled my friends, doctors, and most of my family.  You whittled me down to 79 pounds. You brought me to the brink of death time after time and ravaged everything in your path.

What tortures me most is seeing other children suffer and die… and you know that.

But guess what Cancer?

By the Grace of God, I have family, friends, and a medical team who have helped me to rise far above your treacherous grasp. Not only am I out of your grasp, but I am turning around the attack. Yes Cancer, you heard me right. I am out to get you. There is nowhere you can hide.

You know Cancer, every time I share my story, or someone reads Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery, people become more aware of you and the horrors of your existence. The more aware we all become of you, the more money will raise to fund research for your swift demise.  And I haven’t even begun my college education which I plan on dedicating to eradicating you.

Your Glory Days are over Cancer. I advise you to start shopping around for your cemetery plot.

Nutcracker 2010 Memories

All week-long, the music from The Nutcracker has been playing in my head. After five performances last weekend, it is still with me! I wish that all of you could see how talented the people are who I dance with. Not only are they talented, but I love each of them like they are my sister. It’s an exceptional group of girls who all support one another and never compete with one another. What an amazing environment for growth, and I realize how blessed I am to be surrounded with this kind of support and love.

Rag Doll Oksana and Soldier Melinda

Last year, one of my parts was a Rag Doll, like Oksana here with me in this photo. This year, as part of our soldier dance, we went down on the floor on our rear ends and got back up again. Tricky huh?! I enjoyed being a Soldier:)
Next in the performance came my part in Snow. Mom has a tough time making it through Snow ever since three years ago when she sat watching me dance as a Snowflake two days after my biopsy. We had no idea at the time what the Big Blob was inside my chest. I think that song will always make her cry, and watching me dance along with it– well, she is “Toast”! Gotta love moms:) She did tell me that she began dripping tears even before I appeared onstage because Jane and Harmony, the Snow Queens, were dancing from their souls. I loved being a part of Snow– it is always epic with the incredibly beautiful music and of course…
The Snow!!!!!!!!

Nutcracker Snow with Callie and Teagan

Callie was an incredible Flower Queen and Teagan and I were both Soldiers:) 
And one more dance… Ribbon… ahhh yes, the dance that took every ounce of strength and breath I could gather up!

Nutcracker Ribbon Dance with Sarah

Bye-Bye Nutcracker 2010. It was great fun!

Golden Mike for KSBY’s Carina Corral Grey

I received great news today from Carina Corral Grey at KSBY– she won a Golden Mike Award! Golden Mikes are awards given by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California, and the award she will be receiving at the Award Dinner is for:

TV-17- Best Hard News Series Reporting in Division B. The title of the series is called, “A Child’s Resilience,” and guess what story is included in this?

Published author, dancer, cancer survivor: Nipomo teenager being honored this weekend – KSBY-TV-msnbc.com:

I am very, very happy for Carina and for KSBY, not only for their award, but for their commitment to air news stories that will bring forth awareness and assistance for kids fighting serious childhood illnesses. I am thrilled that the broadcasting industry obviously agrees with the importance of this issue and with the beautiful way Carina and KSBY put together the stories. I hope this will encourage other reporters to reach out to help our very youngest in need.

Thank you Carina. Thank you KSBY. My sincere and warmest of all congratulations on this well-deserved award.

Carina Corral Grey and Melinda

Google Map Vehicle Sighting

Coming home from school today, I was driving along Tefft Street when my mom noticed a strange-looking vehicle coming toward us in the opposite lane. It was a teeny-tiny car with a huge tripod on top and a bubble-like camera on top of that. We giggled at the way it looks and how funny it must be to be the person who is driving the car. Now, what I want to know is when they get that piece of tape up  and running, are all of you going to see me smiling and waving at you when you look up “Tefft Street” in Nipomo????????????????????

Giggle, giggle, hope so! Actually, all you will see is the silver streak of a Toyota Tundra barreling toward home (I was hungry, okay?!)

I will conclude with a few photos of Google Map Vehicles that look  a bit similar to the one we saw.

Why does this crack me up?

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