by Dara Tucker
As part of the Week of Respect celebration, organ donation advocate and Motivational Speaker Jessica Melore visited WHS on Oct. 9 during periods 8 and 9. Melore’s presentation focused on her struggle with multiple medical issues. According to Melore, she suffered a heart attack at age 16 and underwent a subsequent heart transplant. However, she got an infection after the procedure, and as a result, her leg was amputated.
Though she was confined to a wheelchair, Melore said the experience did not faze her. She said: “I’m just like you…. I’m just someone that something happened to. I’m not a pity case.”
Melore said that her health issues subsided, until she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She went through treatment successfully only to relapse six and a half years later.While she said she originally thought of cancer as a death sentence, she remained positive.
Said Melore: “Happiness is a decision that you make…. I see [cancer] as a fork in the road that allowed me to reach out.” In fact, Melore said that her medical struggles inspired her to work in the organ donation industry. She said that “the greatest compliment she can receive” is someone signing up for organ donation after hearing her speak.
More information about organ donation can be found at organdonor.gov.
Members of the WHS community were moved by Melore’s presentation. Assistant Principal Mr. James DeSarno said that he hopes students will be more thoughtful and respectful of life after hearing Melore’s story.
Principal Mr. Peter Renwick said that he thinks students can follow Melore’s example. He said: “You can recognize that you can go through challenges and give back. As a result of your challenges, you might be able to help someone else.”
Said senior Olivia Schiffer: “It's extremely important for people to hear her story because it’s so easy for people our age to be ungrateful for their life and their good health.”
DeSarno added: “When you have a powerful presentation like this, you hope that everyone could come away with something, large or small, that could make them a better person.”