What Mélanie’s Way Means to Me: Robin Quelhas

Tonight, we have the privilege of sharing heartfelt words from another one of our volunteers - Robin Quelhas. Robin is a member of our Wish Fulfillment team, and this is what Mélanie’s Way means to him:

When Rob first shared with me that he was going to found Mélanie’s Way, something just clicked. Although I’d only know Rob and Mélanie for five years before she passed, the way they lived post-diagnosis moved me deeply. Mélanie’s drive to squeeze every ounce of joy out of the time she had left was all the more beautiful because she shared every moment with the people who meant the most to her.

My wife and I welcomed our little girl into the world during Mélanie’s final year. Mélanie visited my wife and daughter often. We have a picture of Mélanie holding our daughter in our home and, every time I see it, I’m reminded of her generous spirit and her will to live life to the fullest. I also feel the pang of sadness that comes from knowing my daughter will never count “Auntie Mel” among her role models.

As a member of our Wish Fulfillment Team, I work with the young women we serve to plan and deliver their wishes. From the day I met our first wish recipient, Shannon, I’ve seen the importance of our mission first hand. Shannon couldn’t believe that she was entitled to ask for the specific details that would make her trip a wish come true. We spent over an hour teasing out each special request that would make her trip to Disney with her kids perfect. Our subsequent conversations kept colouring in the wish more and more until we could say it was exactly what she wanted.

It was in that first conversation that I realized that what we bring to young women with metastatic or relapsed cancer goes beyond our stated goal of bringing them moments of joy to share with loved ones and lasting memories for those they leave behind. For our wish recipients, planning for, and anticipating, the wish provides an important respite from the day-to-day reality of the treatment cycle. As one wish recipient put it, we gave her and her husband the opportunity to “be themselves again” by granting their wish and sending them on a trip to their wedding destination for their 5th anniversary.
Hearing one of the strong, inspiring young women we serve say something like that makes everything we do feel important and necessary. I’m honoured to be a part of Mélanie’s Way, proud to help grant wishes for young women with metastatic or relapsed cancer, and sustained by the belief that our work helps to keep Mélanie’s spirit alive in the world.

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