A Maryland woman has found new hope amidst a rare neurological disorder that paralyzed her from the waist down – thanks to a charitable website that raised $400,000 in a single month in her name.
TheBlaze reports Melissa Smith of Annapolis was sinking beneath despair and debt from a March diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis, a disease that spurs the immune system to attack the spinal cord.
“I was so depressed,” the 26-year-old reportedly said. “I was trapped in a third-floor apartment with no elevator. I didn’t get to leave my house all summer and fall unless I went to a doctor’s appointment because I didn’t want to burden anyone with carrying me down [the stairs].
“I felt totally out of control of every part of my life. When other people would see it and watch, it just made me so sad. I cried about it a lot. Felt like I had zero control. Felt like my life was over.”
Now, Smith tells TheBlaze she is slowly becoming less despondent thanks to Chive Charities’ choice to feature her, among the other “orphaned causes,” the website champions to online donors.
For several months, Smith’s sister, Stephanie, reportedly pitched her sibling’s tragic plight to the non-profit.
The organization claims on its website -- chivecharities.org -- to have conducted so-called “flash charity campaigns,” for such causes, nationwide, as building a safe room for a girl with the rare genetic disorder, SMS, as well as helping a quadruple amputee Afghanistan veteran achieve his dream of building a log cabin.
This month, the fundraising charity profiled Smith’s case – and it reportedly didn’t take long for the website's ranks of big-hearted members to respond.
“When the story went live, Chive told me to go to the GoFundMe site . . . and I was thinking to myself, ‘Obviously we just finished reading, no one could have donated yet,’” Smith told TheBlaze. “But it was almost to 10k when we shifted to that page!”
“I cried,” she reportedly added of her emotions in response to the outpouring of empathy. “I was so shocked. I never imagined I could touch so many people.”
As of Saturday, TheBlaze reports nearly $400,000 had been donated to Smith’s cause, money the former nursing school student says she plans to use to settle medical bills, buy a standing frame, a new wheelchair, as well as put towards a down payment on a handicap-friendly home.
“It was like a breath of fresh air knowing my sister has a future that is not in a nursing home and could potentially feel like a human again and get a house where she could have some independence,” Stephanie told TheBlaze.
As for Smith, she reportedly added, “I am so thankful and feel so blessed, so lucky, so loved and so honored that they chose me and believe in me so much. That’s what means so much to me, everyone has so much faith in me and it’s helping me find a little more faith In myself that I lost a little bit the last 18 months or so.
“I don’t really know how to appropriately thank every single person for giving me that faith back and all of their support, it truly has touched my heart so deeply and just want to give back in any way that I can for the rest of all time.”