Husband & Caregiver
New Year’s Eve 2008.
That’s the day Jay learned his wife, Melissa, had a rare inoperable brain tumor known as anaplastic astrocytoma. It was also the day Melissa showed her family exactly how much courage she had.
“She never gave up,” he says. “She never changed. She kept her sense of humor to the very end.” And it is with that tenacity that Melissa turned a six-month to 18-month diagnosis into eight beautiful years.
“She kept it real every day,” Jay remembers. When asked what people could do to help, she would simply state, “Let’s find a cure.”
It was that simple idea that inspired Jay and Melissa to support the groundbreaking research being done at Moffitt Cancer Center.
“I have one hundred percent faith in what they're doing,” says Jay. “It becomes very personal. Not just a medical team, but they become your medical family and there's a big difference in care there.”
Every step of the way, her Moffitt team was there to support her, battling alongside her. And when the treatments got tough for Melissa, she continued to exemplify strength and courage.
Even during her doctor’s appointments, Melissa was typically cutting jokes or sharing cruise plans with her Moffitt treatment team. “She never wavered,” Jay recalls.
Melissa knew the key to make an impact on the world was to “do something” and never stop. “You fight, and you keep fighting, and you continue to fight.”
This notion inspired the beginning of Golfers vs. Brain Cancer, a foundation dedicated to supporting brain cancer research. Melissa’s ultimate dream was to find a cure for brain cancer. Through Golfers vs. Brain Cancer, her husband is continuing her fight.
For more than 10 years Golfers vs. Brain Cancer has hosted an annual golf tournament to raise money in support brain cancer research.
“I think she's lookin' down upon us with a large smile saying, ‘Job well done,’ and ‘Keep up the good fight.’"