Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Melissa "Fort" passed away peacefully early Saturday morning January 3, 2009, two days before her 31st birthday at Hospice. She was surrounded by her family and friends. Her husband, mom and dad would like to thank all of you who have been faithful readers of her blog. She so looked forward to getting her blog updated - especially the last few weeks. Her last post was two days before Christmas, and she was HOME. She said it was the best Christmas ever. She was home until December 29, when she returned to Hospice because her pain was increasing and her breathing was worsening. They kept her comfortable, and we kept Drew around to keep her spirits up. She never gave up hope that she would get better, and kept up her sense of humor until the end.
You can read her original blog @ www.fortscancersux1.blogspot.com
B POSITIVE is a continuation of her original blog.
We are researching the possibility of having her blog published. We will update the progress in a future post.

With much appreciation, Fort's mom


Susie Q said...

She was a blessing to all of us...she inspired so many of us through her blog. She was an amazing, bright spirit. I think her blog SHOULD be published...her words could reach so many and what a gift it would be for Drew.
Blessings to you all. You remain in our thoughts, prayers and hearts.
Sue Combs

Annie said...

Thank you so much for writing. I keep checking the blog...not sure what I'm looking for...a connection, maybe? Attitude is definitely the key, and Fort had a perspective on life that everyone can admire and be inspired by. You raised an amazing daughter and I feel blessed for having her a part of my life.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I didn't know your daughter other than reading her blog. I stumbled across her blog several years ago and had been addicted ever since. She had such a great sense of humor and a strength like no one I have ever known. I would sit at my computer and laugh out loud at her stories and comments.
Even though she faced a lot of obstacles in her life she never gave up or lost sight of what was important.
Please find comfort in knowing she touched so many people in her life and that her memory will live on even through those who didn't know her in person just through her blog.
You all are in my thoughts and prayer during this time-
A cincinnati reader

Karyn said...

I too keep checking back here and rereading old posts....Melissa was one of a kind...truly amazing...i will miss her, but love that we have her words to read when we miss her.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing that kid/woman was to all the lives she touched. Her wit,intelligence and take on life were priceless and anyone lucky enough to have known her in person or through her writing should be motivated to be a stronger, funnier, more aware and positive person because of that relationship. I know I am and I want to live like Melissa lived...bravely, strongly, passionatly and I will strive for that on a daily basis. no, I won't be playing rugby but I sure as heck will go watch some and cheer em' on!!!! love to you Pam Sharon

Anonymous said...

Melissa was a truly inspiring in a variety of ways. I could throw out all types of cliches, but the bottom line is she faced adversity with an unwavering strength, a bright smile and the type of character any husband,parent, family member or friend would be proud of.

Her nickname of "Fort" was so appropriate in that she stood strong, even after taking so many blows that were expected and unexpected.
She also is a symbol of Victory to me as I have learned through this blog and my interactions with Melissa to live life with vigor, vitality,and an unwavering thakfulness for the things that are good both big and small.

As a husband, father and brother I can't imagine the pain of losing someone so special.
I just hope that as time heals some of the emotional wounds, the inspiration that was Melissa, will take hold and create a sense of comfort and optimism.

After all we must remember that if Melissa doesn't see us smiling, she'll make sure to come down " kick our butts" tell a good joke and remind us to live life like she did.

David Warren

Janice said...

I never knew Melissa, but read her obituary and followed the link to her blog. What a wonderful giving spirit she had! I am an EMT, and I have seen the throes of illness, but have never seen someone approach their disease with such humor and positive attitude. What a gift your family had in having her in your lives. I hope that you all find some peace in the days ahead and know that her lingering words will be imprinted in the lives of many others. Prayers to all of you.

Tricia Hoover Baker said...

Our family's thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. My daughter played JV Volleyball for "Coach Fort" at Finneytown, and the whole family fell in love with her spirit and devotion to the girls, even while struggling with her illness. Around the same time that she became Laenie's coach, I discovered her blog through a CityBeat article mentioning the best local blogs (my father had passed the previous spring from cancer, and that blog really touched me). Imagine my surprise when I finally figured out that the blog I was so engrossed by was hers! Though I did not know her well personally, as a parent of a student athlete that she coached, I was never less than impressed by her coaching but moreso dazzled by the way she connected with those girls, and the positive effect she had on them. You all have a lot to be proud of, as well being blessed by the many wonderful memories you will always have of that very special woman, she is missed. Please know that she made a difference...on so many levels in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

John...Mr & Mrs. Fortener...Nick & Meredith...Drew,

Thank you so much for sharing Fort with us! She is truly an inspiration to all of us. When I met Faffs, she was one of the first friends he told me about. We are very sorry for your loss and will continue to lift you all up in prayer.

The Kramer family

WineLover said...

I am another blog stalker that found Fort's blog through a friend of a friend about a year ago. I had contacted her back in April just after my own sister was diagnosed w/stage iv colon cancer. Her humor, courage and fight have given me so much hope and perspective.
I recently saw this reading by the author Kelly Corrigan (on friend's blog that recently lost her husband to cancer) - it's about women and their strength and is very touching.


all my prayers to the family - I know in your grief, there will be laughter as you recall the stories and remember her spirit. I'm a little jealous of all of you that knew her personally ;) Keep her spirit alive.

Amanda said...

I first found this blog when I read Fort's article in Cin Weekly. At the time, an old childhood friend had been diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer and I sent her Fort's story and blog link as inspiration.

I have checked back to the blog frequently and was always so impressed with her positive attitude and they way she dealt with each situation so gracefully.

God Bless and thank you for sharing her with all of us. She is quite the inspiration.

Sharon said...

Pam, Don, and family,
Melissa was such an amazing young woman! She has been a true inspiration to women of all ages with and without breast cancer. Personally, I too found strength and inpiration as Melissa shared her breast cancer journey. She has touched the lives of so many, and will continue to through her great spirit and writings. You must be so proud of her! May you find great strength, comfort, and peace in knowing she was loved by so many, and she has made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Love and blessings (and a big hug),
Sharon Kershner

Anonymous said...

I too continue clicking on Fort's Blog... reading and rereading. Laughing and crying! She is absolutely the strongest, bravest, and happiest woman I've ever had the privledge of knowing! I hope and pray that I can live my life and be the kind of woman that Melissa was. She has always had that same glowing, fun and strong personality.... even back in grade school! Pam & Don you should be proud of yourselves!!! You have a greeeeeaaaaat daughter! God bless all of her family & friends at this difficult time! May all of you find peace & happiness!

amy said...

Great idea! I was thinking the very same thing! She was such an inspiration.

Love you!
Amy Borders

IBBB said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. I didn't know Melissa personally, but she used to love reading my blog, epsecially my "Hills" recaps and she would always leave hysterical comments.

From that, I started reading her blog and learned what an amazing person she was.

There were a few times when I wanted to stop blogging, but one day found that she added my site to a cancer survivers forum/message board and I read some of their posts on how they always laughed when they were reading the ridiculousness of my website. It was then that I realized why I got into this in the first place and it was to make people laugh.

I hnoestly don't know if I would have kept it going if it wasn't for Melissa and I will always be grateful for the perspective that she has given to me.

She is extremely inspiring to me and, why I never met her personally, and only had limited conversations with her, she will always be someone whom I will remember and look towards for my own strength and determination.

With Love,

Jessica Vance said...

To Pam and Donnie and family, I grew up knowing all of you. I wasn't very close with melissa like some of my family members, but i was blessed to know her just a little. I was so taken back with the number of people who were at Tobias yesterday. After comming home though and reding her blogs i really shouldn't be at all. She was beautiful on the inside and out, letting people know how she feels but, still thinking of others feelings as well. She was an amazing person and has blessed so many in the real world or in the blogging world. She will be missed greatly and my love and sympathies are with all of you. Stay strong because that's what she would have wanted. I can't wait to plant the wild flowers when it gets warm and watch them and think of her. God bless!

Becky said...

I never had the privilege of meeting this wonderful person. I did read her blog after reading about her passing in the Dayton Daily News. What an amazing person Fort was! I was thinking that her blog should be made into a book. I hope that happens! I would love to have a copy.

Hugs to all of you.
Becky in Englewood

jessica said...

A friend of mine told me about Fort's blog almost a year ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was such a gift. We are the same age, barely a week apart, and from the very first post I read I could tell she was a mighty force. I can't tell you how much she helped me with the emotional aspects of cancer. Knowing how strong she was, how comfortable she seemed with her self and her body, were a shining beacon to me in some very rough times. I wish I could offer you a fraction of the comfort she gave me.

Also, I wanted to let you know about blurb.com, a company that allows you to publish any book yourself; they even have a ready format for blogs. I've made one book so far and would be happy to answer any questions.

All my best wishes for you,

Anonymous said...

I never met Fort but felt like I knew her, felt like she was an old friend. I found her blog a couple years ago and was inspired. I would check it often and feel uplifted, renewed, grateful after reading her posts. I always smiled, and often even laughed out loud, at what she had to say. She, even without knowing me, made me want to be a better person, a more appreciative person, a more fun person.
When I read her story about her experience in the church, just needing someone to reach out to her, I cried. I cried because I was sad for her and I cried because I knew before reading it I likely also would have just walked by, failed to notice.
She opened my eyes and encouraged me to reach out, to pay attention, to notice & to act.
I am so incredibly sad for your loss but am so incredibly thankful for the gift that Fort was -to me, to you & your family, & to all the people whose lives she touched. Publishing her blog is a brilliant idea - I know her writing will continue to be a blessing to all readers.
To Fort's mom, I also wanted to say what an inspiration you are to me, as a mother. The unfaltering way that you loved and cared for her was beautifully conveyed in her posts. What an incredible family.
I wish you peace.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Melissa was so very funny! I have never met Fort or contacted her but we share a common bond. I too am going to turn 31 in a few weeks so we are the same age and I was dx with breast cancer at the age of 28. I started reading her blog when I was going through treatments and she really inspired me to be a more appreciative person. She made me laugh and cry and I can't imagine not having her blog to lean on now. She is an inspiration to me to be a better person and to apprecite life!
RIP Fort,
Becky in Detroit

Anonymous said...

Melissa was such an inspiring person. She was so strong and always pleasant, even when she wasn't feeling good. I didn't know her personally, but I had to joy of having her as a patient while she was at KMC. Everyone admired how emotionally strong she was, and also her family. How amazing is it that she was never alone in her room. Her parents, husband, friends, or other family members were always there. That can't be said for most patients. She was incredibly luck to have such an amazing family. I am sure you guys help her fight her battle. To her family- if you guys ever need anything, you guys know you are always welcome to stop by the hospital, and if we can help you out, we will in a heartbeat. RIP Melissa, and keep an eye on your family as they go through this extremely difficult time. God Bless you all.

Jenna said...

Been quietly reading and learning as I walk my own path through the same disease and stage and she always, always, always, inspires me to keep laughing and poking fun at the absurdities of cancer. I appreciate and cherish her sharing her journey with us.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Melissa "Fort" very well, we went to the same high school and I was in a different grade.
I couldn't let this opportunity pass by to let you know that Fort's life has been so inspiring and at the same time easy to identify with. I am amazed at her inner and outer strength through the illness. I keep thinking of her family and close friends, what a great circle of support she had around her at all times. You all are and will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers!

Anonymous said...

I still have trouble comprehending Fort's reach, but these comments help show how truly far she did. I'm amazed.
I'm still at a loss for words, but I know I speak for all of her family and friends that these messages mean so much. Even though I am saddened by her loss, I am uplifted and so happy to see all those she touched.
I hope to "bring the bastard" out again as I know Fort wouldn't expect any less, but for now, I just want to off a simple "Thanks" to everyone out here.
Pauly the Bastard

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss of Melissa, "Fort." I never knew Fort in the "real" sense; i've been reading her blog for what i think must be over 2 years, and though i have no idea of what her laugh sounded like, or her physical mannerisms, what i did get from her blog is a real glimpse into her beautiful spirit. I will REALLY miss this blog, and the person behind it, but i am sure my sadness is nothing compared to what those who "really" knew her must be feeling. What comforts me is the knowledge that i was privileged to share, via her blog, Fort's courage, hope, optimism, and great sense of humor in the face of her struggles with cancer; this is a beautiful legacy she leaves behind. You will be missed, Fort, by more people than you know.

aka San Diego/Charleston

Kris said...

I shared this blog with a good friend of mine who never knew Fort. This is what she said--and I certainly echo each and every word:

Wow...I'm so humbled and touched...read the blog and the tears are streaming...and I'm at work...geez. I'm so inspired by Fort and her great attitude, fight for life, and just being with what is.

Thank you for sharing her spirit with me. I'm honored and inspired. If only more people could take the approach of gratitude on a daily basis and be real with how lucky and blessed they truly are for where they are and all that they have.

kylie mae stein said...

COACH fort you were an amazing woman,i dont think you would have been able to grasp how much you touched mine&the rest of the volleyball girls lives,i wanted to work so hard on the volley for the cure just to show you a little of the strength we saw in you everyday.you were truly a blessing in disguise and im so thankful to have had you been a part of my life.

"keep fighting strong"(: