After a courageous 21-month battle against an aggressive juvenile cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, Melissa died peacefully at home on June 9, 2004 with her parents and boyfriend at her side. She had recently completed her sophomore year as a Psychology major at Gordon, and had just returned from visiting friends on Cape Cod. Melissa showed the world a strong and inspiring faith that kept her going through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, discomfort, pain and suffering.
Melissa had a strong faith as evidenced in her life choices and in her writings. Starting in the toddler room at Newton Presbyterian Church, continuing though various youth groups, becoming a confirmation advisor and serving as a member of the search committee for a new Youth Pastor, she constantly practiced her faith. In 2001 she was named one of the "Outstanding Young Christian Women in New England." Although not perfect, she was an example to many people-even those 2, 3, or 4 times her age. It was her desire for a closer relationship with God that Melissa applied to, and was accepted by Gordon College.
Melissa's family and friends have created a scholarship in her name at Gordon—the Melissa Bell Meisenhelder Memorial Scholarship. Should you wish to contribute to perpetuating this scholarship, you may give online or print out a mail-in contribution form.