'It's horrible because I still feel so young' - brain tumour mum's inspiring make-up vlog
PUBLISHED: 12:12 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 12 November 2019
Brain Tumour Research
A 28-year-old mum suffering with an inoperable brain tumour has found comfort and community via her inspiring, online make-up tutorials.
Melissa Ross said showing people how to apply various flawless looks was a distraction from her illness and a way to connect with like-minded people - as well as raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s.
Buoyed by the positive feedback from her audience - as well as the joy of being a mum to Millie, aged seven - the former barmaid at Great Yarmouth's White Swan pub said she appreciated the good things in life and took nothing for granted.
Her story and upbeat attitude has been picked up by Brain Tumour Research as part of its campaign to raise awareness of the condition as it works to find better treatments and ultimately a cure.
Currently 20pc of sufferers do not survive beyond five years after diagnosis, compared with 50pc for all other cancers.
Ms Ross, who lives with her partner Lee in Yarmouth, was initially wrongly diagnosed after going to her GP with a number of symptoms which included dull, continuous pain in her legs - put down to working long hours behind the bar.
She said: "Over time the pain got worse and it became difficult to lift my legs and walk more than 100 yards."
Following a second opinion she had an MRI scan that showed something abnormal.
Further tests confirmed a low-grade glioma, which because of its position on the brainstem and spinal cord, meant surgery was not an option.
She then underwent 30 sessions of radiotherapy over six weeks.
At times she has to walk using a frame, and often cannot leave the house.
However, she has become an inspiration via her own Facebook page MKR Make-Up and Beauty where she uploads her tutorials and chats with followers.
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She said: "There are no words to describe how it feels to be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour at the age of 24.
"Though it's been the hardest journey, now four years on from my diagnosis, I've learned not to take anything for granted and to appreciate the good things in life.
"I'm blessed to be mum to Millie. She's a happy, healthy and smiley little girl who loves school and gymnastics."
"I hope that by sharing my story I help to raise awareness of brain tumours.
"It's horrible because I still feel so young and would like nothing more than to provide for our family.
"While I might look fit and well, I'm living with an invisible illness which means I cannot life my life to the full."
To donate visit the charity's website here.