Melissa Marshall of the No You Cant’cer Foundation

Patient Leader

  Melissa Marshall was born into music. The daughter of a trumpet player, she found her voice at a young age and knew that passion would follow her throughout her life. And it did, from Florida to New York and every stage in between as she traveled the country as a band leader for her group, Marshall Arts. After decades of entertaining, Atlantic City, New Jersey became her home base and she sang every night as she raised her family. In 2013, Melissa thought she lost her voice forever when she was diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer and received her now permanent ileostomy bag. Immediately after leaving the hospital after her ileostomy surgery, she was inspired to write a song she never thought she’d get the chance to sing. And as she put the words to No You Cant’cer to paper, she had no idea how it would shape her second chance at life. Daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, grandmother, singer, songwriter—Melissa has had many titles. It made for a long list that now included colorectal cancer survivor and permanent ostomate. But just like any label, none of those things defined her. Instead, she decided to take those titles and craft a world for herself—a world after cancer and with her permanent Ileostomy. A year and a half after writing the lyrics to No You Cant’cer and designing her signature blue butterfly necklace, Melissa created the No You Cant’cer Foundation. Colorectal cancer and ostomy appliances are only spoken of in whispers with no blue parades, catchy slogans, or celebrities in commercials. But Melissa’s voice grew and she decided to help bring both out of the darkness.   Melissa embarked on a journey of education and awareness that is still ongoing. Aside from recording her song of survival, which has been played countless times across America, and designing her line of butterfly ribbon necklaces, she’s created a national network of informational pamphlets. Through understanding and acceptance, she hopes to lower colorectal cancer rates and ensure no one is ever again shamed for their ostomy bag.   At the annual AONN+ conference, Melissa’s contributions to the world of ostomy and colorectal education were acknowledged, as Conquer Magazine named her the 2017 Hero of Hope. This has opened new doors and she was able to attend the 2017 OstoMy Family conference in Oklahoma, hosted by Ostomy 2-1-1, where she was able to receive her Ostomy Visitor Certification. Melissa then went to Las Vegas for the Wild About Wounds Conference, where although she isn’t a nurse, she became a Trained Ostomy Management Specialist, and now works as the first Ostomy Care Consultant, guiding patients as they enter the world of being an ostomate. She has recently been named the United Ostomy Associations of America’s National Conference Social Director. Together, we can help everyone say No You Cant’cer!

Location

Galloway, NJ

Nominations

Patient Leader Hero

Melissa Marshall has been using the Facebook platform in a positive, educational approach to bring this deadly cancer into public awareness. She wants others to be more aware and be proactive in making screening important. She is a great example to many others. She leads the fight for “No you cant’cer”!  — Chip

Melissa Marshall has taken lemons and turned them into lemonade. Since beating colorectal cancer, she’s taken her second chance at life and ran with it. She’s dedicated herself to showing that having an ostomy is no big deal! She’s gotten certifications and now works with the UOAA to make the lives of ostomates bettrr. A true inspiration.  — Susan

Melissa Marshall of the No You Cant’cer Foundation

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