‘I’m not going anywhere’: Single mother of 3 getting experimental treatment after given ‘less than a year’ to live

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GIBSONVILLE, N.C. -- A Gibsonville woman is refusing to accept the fate she has been given after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

In early 2018, Melissa Smith, a single mother of three, was diagnosed with leukemia, but after intense treatment, she beat it. She even got to ring the hospital's "victory bell" thinking she was in the clear.

Then, during a routine checkup just five days before Christmas, doctors discovered Smith's cancer had returned.

“I was just -- I thought of my kids -- they’re my best friends," Smith said.

In May, a bone marrow test showed the cancer had affected 5 percent of her body. However, over the weekend, doctors informed Smith her cancer had intensified and she had less than a year to live. In the two weeks she had spent in the cancer center of Wake Forest Baptist Health, the cancer spread to 50 percent of her body.

Sadly, bad news was what Smith has been used to hearing.

“It’s just scary," said Smith. "It’s very scary.”

When doctors gave Smith the news, she says she went numb as her mind raced through all of the special moments she would miss with her children. She thought about not being there for her son Noah's baseball tournaments; her daughter Mariah's graduation; and watching her son Eli achieve his dream of playing in the NFL.

“They just crawled into bed with me and we just cried," Smith said. "They were holding on to me. They were very hurt.”

But, in those moments, Smith says she realized she had too much to live for to give up her fight and doesn’t accept the doctor’s outlook.

I don’t believe it,” Smith explained. “I’m gong to fight through this. I’ve got kids.”

On Tuesday, doctors said there was one more option for Smith -- an experimental trial in Durham.

"I’m basically a guinea pig," Smith said. "I’m praying for a miracle - a miracle that this clinical trial actually helps me and not hurts me.”

Smith's first appointment is scheduled for Wednesday and it is unknown what the experimental treatment will consist of.

To read more on her journey or to donate to her fight, click here.

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