Melissa Smith-Chive CharitiesAfter being dealt one devastating blow after another, a record-breaking number of donations has changed the life of a former cancer patient who suddenly became paralyzed after aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Melissa Smith was 22 when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma; now 29 she has beat cancer twice.

But last year more heartbreaking health news arrived in the diagnosis of a rare disease that paralyzed her from the waist down.

Her sister, hoping to raise money badly needed to help Melissa, relentlessly urged a charity site, Chive Charities, to intervene. It turns out, strangers around the world were waiting to help too.

Chive did come to the rescue, surprising her with $50,000 and a party in her Annapolis hometown. They promoted the story about the Maryland woman, and asked people to contribute. Donations flooded in to a GoFundMe webpage the sister had created to help purchase an accessible home and pay medical bills — a whopping $396,000, in 11 days, a record for Chive.

Melissa told WBAL-TV the messages of support from around the world would keep her going: “I don’t know why everybody took my story to heart, but I appreciate it more than I could ever put into words.”

(WATCH the video below, or READ the story from WBAL)

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