<sup>benefit concert:</sup> Fitzgerald's, Houston, Texas, Sunday October 7
2012/09/376601_332358056853831_1150071363_n.jpg” alt=”" width=”600″ height=”400″ />
Except for one detail in the contributor’s list, we’ve been completely silent on this. On August 5, our writer and our friend Melissa Hunter-Noack sent us a text, telling us that surgeons had taken an 8-centimeter mass from her uterus. She had suffered stomach upset for about four weeks, but did not mention any other symptom. She was a music fan like no other: in the seven months we had known her, she often wrote multiple articles per day, on the web site, Facebook page and Twitter feed. But at the time of this text message she had only written a dozen posts over the last month, so we knew something was up.
Oncologists struggled with her diagnosis and she only began chemotherapy in late October. On November 3 Patrick sent me one last text message on the subject. We had not heard a medical update from her for about ten days, so we naively took it as positive news, assuming that her condition was improving. Melissa was 30 when she passed.
After a stunned two months, we grew tired of receiving emails from PR firms addressed to “Patrick, Melissa and Fred.” Apologies to any third-party reps in the room, but your trade is not exactly known for its subtlety or tact. We knew that Melissa’s
family was inundated with this same spam, but we were intent on leaving her listed as a contributor. Our idea was to remove the hyperlink to her email address, which caused the text of her name to turn white. We thought it was fitting, somehow, and left it that way. It was our only indirect mention of her brief, sudden illness, and its agonizingly slow diagnosis.
Melissa’s cancer was incredibly rare: a pseudopapillary neoplasm, with only four previous cases recorded in medical literature. Intent on sparing future patients the frustration, pain, and anxiety of lengthy diagnoses and ineffective treatment, Melissa made clear her wishes for a research foundation. Earlier this year M.D. Anderson announced The Melissa Hunter Noack Research Fund for Analysis of Rare/Orphan Tumors. On October 7, Melissa’s family will put on a benefit concert at Fitzgerald’s, with proceeds donated to this fund. Seryn will top the lineup, alongside Frants and Melissa’s husband Jacob. Please save the date.
It seems remarkable that I only met her in person once, and then for only a minute or two. If memory serves it was March 17, at The Stage at Sixth in Austin, during Paste Magazine’s SXSW 2011 showcase. She was beautiful and happy. Engaging. Absolutely in her element.
If I have the date right, Seryn would have just exited the stage (I missed Ólöf Arnalds, one of Melissa’s favorite shows of 2010). John Vanderslice was coming up, as was Rural Alberta Advantage. It was a very good day.
We miss you, Mel. We haven’t been the same since.