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Stunned by the kindness of strangers

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Hum    6,930

After being dealt one devastating blow after another, a record-breaking $390,000 in donations has changed the life of a disabled former cancer patient in Maryland (donation page:

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

But last year she received more heartbreak after losing sensation in her limbs: a diagnosis of the rare disease Transverse Myelitis.

Within three weeks she was paralyzed from the waist down. Her third-floor apartment became a prison, she was kicked out of nursing school, and she sank into a depression.

"I've always been a positive person," she says. "But in the last year it's been hard to look at the bright side."

Enter the site Chive ( which featured her story after sister Stephanie's relentless campaign including a five-page email and social networking.

At one point donations were coming in at a rate of $837 per minute. The current total is over $390,000, which will be used to help Melissa's medical bills and provide a down payment for a home that will restore her independence.

Says sister Stephanie, "it changed her life in 6 hours." Melissa says it is also the messages of support from around the world 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." :happy:

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Growled    3,880

Poor girl. She has had a rough go of it. I'm glad people have come through and helped her.

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