Cindy Mellinger, Local Blue Ridge Communications Employee and Featured Health Hero Celebrating Two Anniversaries.
Meet local Health Hero Cindy Mellinger, a marketing liaison employed by Blue Ridge Communications in Ephrata, PA. She is excited to celebrate 38 years with what she affectionally calls her Blue Ridge family.
Local Community Ties
Mellinger is known throughout the community as the go-to gal in various networking circles, the marketing arm for Blue Ridge, and the go-to for connecting people, places, and things.
When I first met Mellinger, she was extremely friendly and enthusiastic and shared she was also celebrating that she had just passed her 21st anniversary of being Cancer Free. “This is a huge milestone,” Mellinger said. “I am adamant in living a life of purpose,” Mellinger said while donating her time to various charities that make a difference in the community.”
Mellinger shared that when she looks back at the challenges she has faced and overcome, she recalls it was all a gift and a blessing in disguise.
A two-time cancer survivor, Mellinger, shared that when her cancer journey began, she said, “I first started to feel unwell and beyond tired. I went in for blood work where they discovered my white cell blood count was off the charts,” Mellinger recalled.
It turns out she had acute Leukemia with a 2-3 month surveil rate. While considering a bone marrow biopsy, she shared that she became weaker and weaker and explained that when the Dr. of Oncology informed her of her acute Leukemia, she was only 37 years old. “I was whisked away to ICU, and I remember all the lovely flowers I had received were being re-homed (unsafe during this diagnosis). I was relocated to a private room and began getting blood transfusions.”
Living with Purpose
What she remembered most was saying to her mom, “I don’t want to die.” It was then she said that she started praying and reevaluating her life. “I was so caught up in over-achieving and not wanting to fail, so I asked myself, did I fulfill my purpose for my life”? Recalled Mellinger.
She was a peach but kept wondering if she had accomplished what she needed in her life. Mellinger knew she was a strong person and had survived a previous health battle with anorexia, and she always wanted to go above and beyond her challenges.
“What was looming in the back of my mind,” Mellinger stated, “was something many of us can relate to a fear of failure.” Mellinger asked herself, ‘Did I let God down’?
She then contacted a local funeral director and began to make arrangements, “Cindy, you are not going to die,” the director told her, “I know this isn’t the end for you.” It was then that she felt hope again.
Mellngers physician gave her many options – and a decision had to be made. Her sister offered to be her bone transplant donor. However, she said, “I chose another course of treatment, and I went into it with humor and scriptures, family, and all of my co-worker’s support.”
After being in remission for six years- August of 1999, and her symptoms came back- she initially ignored it. “I took some time off from work as I started running fevers, and my family asked me to please call and get checked up. “I felt I couldn’t do it- and one night laying in bed- I heard a voice say “get help now” and immediately I told my parents I was ready.” The ambulance arrived in minutes.
Mellinger again went into ICU and woke in the middle of the night and saw that her family members were all there.
Beating Cancer Twice
As she fast forwards to her current life’s journey, she is celebrating 21 years. “I beat it twice.”
“After a second battle with Leukemia, I have a whole new lease on life. And it was then and there that I decided to make that dash between my birth — death matter every day, and so I began to live with purpose”.
Volunteering with Charities
I was then able to get involved with multiple charities, helping people in the community with cancer face their fears- and face their transitions – I knew I was living her dash. “It’s not me. It’s God allowing me by giving me the time and the strength to do it”.
Cindy gave of her heart and hands to many organizations and was able to participate in creating several community programs that Blue Ridge now sponsors and supports.” I could not imagine facing a catastrophic illness with the support of this amazing company I work for.”
Since then, she says she overcame her anxiety and fears of failure- and gave her life of service to create new meaning. “I feel honored I found my purpose to help those afraid to die, some survivors, some who needed help during treatment with the strength and time to do it.”
During my most challenging times and those I have since overcome, I wrote a poem that summed up all I have overcome.
“Out of the fire, like a rising phoenix, came a new lease on life and all these fantastic community programs. I can’t thank my 38-year relationship with my Blue Ridge Communications family enough.”
For more information on Cindy’s incredible story and to see a special poem shared by Cindy, click the seal!