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When one is brought to the brink of death and back, he or she is suddenly exposed to new perspectives and new values. In my battle with cancer, I learned an endless number of lessons. If it was my last day, last hour, or last minute on this planet, I would be overflowing with words to tell the world. Because I would not have the time to tell them everything I would want to share, here are the three most important to me…

The Time Is Now

So many of us get caught up in the past or become anxious about the future. Really, we must live each moment as it comes, accepting the past and having faith in the future. “Now” is all we will ever have, and if we don’t learn to recognize, appreciate, and live “now”, then our lives will miss out on a lot of joy. When I was ill, I had to take life day by day and sometimes second by second, and I realized the simplicity and beauty of life when lived in this manner.

Little Things Make a Huge Difference

The world is bettered by the one who helps the old man pick up something he dropped, the one who lets the pregnant woman take their seat, or even the one who offers a quick smile to a complete stranger. It is the small, even tiny, everyday acts of kindness that circulate love around this harsh world.

You never know what people are going through, and they may be hurting from something occurring in their life. Just a smile can truly make their whole day and renew their spirit to take on the challenges they face. I find that many people have an “I’m never going to see them ever again anyway” attitude, but I have seen firsthand the power of spontaneous acts of kindness. I have been the giver, the receiver, and the observer…it is a beautiful thing.

Thank You

Two simple words can bring on a lifetime of happiness. Those two magical words are “thank you”. So many search for the “secret to happiness”, when really, it is all around them. Being grateful is at the core of happiness, and every single happy feeling is created from gratitude for something in the world.

I cannot stress enough the importance of being thankful, and I cannot describe the utter joy it brings to my life. My difficult cancer journey has made me grateful for things like walking, breathing, eating, laughing, and so, so much more. If we can find joy in these everyday things, we will be amazed by how we see the world– by the happiness and love we feel spilling out of us.

Get this…whatever we chose to appreciate in life will bring us joy. So why not appreciate it all? All of this happiness, in turn, is passed from one thankful individual to another, creating a more loving Earth and a more meaningful life for the people in it.


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Melinda Marchiano lives in the rolling, oak-studded hills of the Central Coast of California. Homeschooled through the eighth grade, she enjoyed from a young age the freedom to write and create. Now in high school, she is academically at the top of her class. Melinda dances six days a week and performs with the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo and with San Luis Jazz. A childhood cancer survivor, she gives thanks for her life by speaking and fundraising for such organizations as the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

The first edition of Melinda's book, Grace, is the Winner of the 2010 International Book Awards in the Health: Cancer category and was also named an Award Finalist in the Spirituality: Inspirational category.

Melinda's second edition, Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery, combines the award-winning story of her first edition along with a compelling foreword written by Dr. Joshua Schiffman (Hodgkin lymphoma survivor as a teenager,) over sixty photographs, impressive endorsements, and outstanding interior/cover designs and distribution by Greenleaf Book Group.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. This is an eye opener for any body who want to change their life for the better. Magnificent wisdom to embrace and act on it, thank you and Blessings.

  2. Melinda, appreciate your words of wisdom at such a young age, to be optimistic, while overcoming cancer.
    Thank you for your kind words.

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