Our dear friend passed away in June of 2013 after a seven-year battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She was 34. The proceeds of this year’s pub crawl will be donated to her two favorite charities in honor and loving memory of her. The video from her memorial can be viewed here. We will always love and remember you, Mo.
A letter from Melissa in 2011:
Hello everyone, thank you for your interest in our event. Let me give you all a little background on me. I am 32 years old and for the first 27 years of my life I was extremely active.
I started playing basketball when I was 10 years old and it has defined my life and has given me incredible opportunities forwhich I am most grateful. I earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Washington which enabled me to continue my education. From there I went on to coach and play professionally in Germany and Portugal. Basketball brought me to many countries and gave me immeasurable amounts of pleasure, pride and independence. When I was 25 and in my last season in Portugal, I started to feel very inadequate on the court. I was out of balance, slow and unable to jump as high as normal. I felt that I was just getting old and not training as I used to. I moved back to Seattle and became part of the working world. I continued to play basketball recreationally and go to the gym to work out. My inadequacies continued to progress and it became very difficult to play or run on my own. After a workout at my local gym, my personal trainer informed me that my problems with balance and strength were not normal of a typical 27 year old. So in August of 2006, I started my search for reason. A day before my 28th birthday, doctors told me that there were definite signs of a neuromuscular disease. I was devastated to know that the active life I have lived was in for a drastic change.
My life has taken many different turns and I have journeyed down a path I never thought existed. However, despite all of the disappointment and setbacks I have learned to view life in a new way. I can truly say that I enjoy the simple things in life. Each day is cherished in a new and inviting way. My family and friends are the very blood that runs through my veins.
On behalf of myself, my family and all of my friends who have supported me along the way, I send a huge THANKS for your thoughts, prayers and support.
Sincerely, Melissa Erickson