WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J. -- "There's so much to life and you want to spend it laughing and smiling as much as possible no matter what your situation," said Angela Melchiorre.
The 40-year-old's life was turned upside down last year when she was diagnosed with stage four non-small cell lung cancer, also known as Adenocarcinoma. The cross fit athlete was experiencing chest pain before admitting herself to the emergency room.
"It's really hard to explain the thought process. First, it's like, me? No way. I'm at the peak of my fitness. No way," she said. "And then the other thing is, I'm going to die."
Melchiorre was told she has only two years to live. She is currently receiving maintenance chemotherapy to sustain her quality of life in the meantime. Her latest tally marked all the way up to round 13.
"The first three rounds of chemotherapy, I had to go by myself," she said. "You have so much anxiety. So I started to do these videos."
What started as a coping mechanism became somewhat of a social media series for the former mental health therapist. Her productions ranged from a Valentine's Day skit to all-out dance tributes to the Bee Gees and Elton John. Most recently, she dressed like Rocky Balboa and engaged in a
fake boxing match with her chemotherapy machine.
"I had all these funny jokes and people thought it was pretty cool," she said. "And the more I kept doing these videos, I noticed it wasn't just for myself."
The nurses that worked with Melchiorre always had something to smile about when she produced a video. And online, friends and family got a kick out of her comedy.
"It was also an icebreaker for me because people are really uncomfortable," she said. "What do they say to someone who is given two years to live?"
Melchiorre uses each post as a means to spread awareness for cancer and its treatments. Her candidness about the scans, tests, and results have captured the hearts of people on social media. Friends and family have reacted by rallying to raise more than $12,000 to help with medical bills.
"I want to make people laugh. I want to educate. I want to inspire. I want to motivate," she said.
In the future, Melchiorre hopes to spread her message further on social media and become a motivational speaker to break the silence on cancer stigmas.
"Cancer to me, as bad as the situation is and as short as my timeline is, has been such a gift because it has changed me and has changed so many other people."