IMPACT
10/21/2013 05:24 pm ET | Updated Oct 24, 2013

The Chive And A Sister's Love Helped Raise $400,000 For Young Woman Who Faced The Unthinkable

After beating cancer twice, a young woman was left paralyzed and imprisoned in an inaccessible apartment she couldn’t afford to move out of. That was until generous donors stepped in and changed her life.

Melissa Smith was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006 when she was 22 and again when she was 29, according to her GoFundMe page. But last year Smith was dealt another devastating blow as she began to lose sensation in her body.

The Annapolis, Md., woman had developed Transverse Myelitis, a rare neurological disease that attacks the spinal cord and can be triggered by high doses of chemotherapy.

Within three weeks she was paralyzed from the waist down and told she would never walk again, Chive Charities reported.

"I've always been a very positive person, but in the last year or so, it's been really hard for me to look at the bright side of things," Smith told WBAL-TV.

That's pretty understandable considering what happened next.

Smith was kicked out of nursing school because of her limited mobility, according to the Chive. She was told her insurance would only cover 30 physical therapy visits per year and she was essentially trapped in her third-floor walk-up apartment, unless someone was available to carry her up and down the stairs –- a favor she was reluctant to ask for.

Unable to watch her sister suffer any further, Stephanie Smith launched an online fundraising campaign and beseeched Chive Charities, a group that encourages its community to support orphan causes, to take on her case in March. Moved by Stephanie's love for her sibling and Smith’s survival spirit, the CHIVEFund decided to donate $50,000 to Smith and urged others to do the same.

Once Chive Charities publicized Smith’s story, her struggle went viral and the donations started pouring. At one point, Smith calculated that she was getting $837 per minute, she told WBAL-TV. To date, donors have pledged nearly $400,000, breaking Chive’s previous fundraising record.

She plans on using the the money to pay her mounting medical bills and for a down payment on a house that will allow her to live independently.

“You say I'm inspiring you guys but the encouragement I'm receiving is pretty inspiring,” Smith wrote to her supporters on her fundraising page on Saturday. “I'm going to sleep feeling a bit lighter than I did all day, thank you all for being here with me, you have no idea how much it's needed.”

Melissa Smith is one tough gal who just needs a bit of support in pushing forward with her fight. Find out how you can get involved here.

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