A word of explanation before I get started, because I know that some of you read the title of this post and had the thought “He has a sister?” I have one sibling – my brother Blake. But I have always felt that the fact I have no “blood” sisters gives me the right to pick and choose my own “sisters I never had.” And I have exercised that right several times over the years.
Many of you have met Melinda Doster – she has demoed for us at shows many times over the years, has taught in our store, and currently demos for Impression Obsession at shows. We first met at a show in Greenville, SC in 1999. Melinda was touring the show with a friend who is confined to a wheelchair – and she was hard to miss because she was wearing a bright yellow polo shirt. All day long, I saw this yellow streak in different parts of the room. And later in the day, she came to me to ask for a donation of cardstock for a project her stamp club was doing for hospitalized kids in her area. Obviously, we get a lot of similar requests and can’t accommodate all of them, but I told Melinda that I was touched by how she had watched out for her friend all day. When she asked me how I had noticed, I told her that she was hard to miss in that bright yellow shirt!
The next spring, we made our annual visit to the Atlanta area, and one of the first people I saw was Melinda – in that same yellow polo shirt! A year or so later, we asked her if she would consider demoing for us – without realizing that she taught at a stamp store in her area. We were just convinced from her personality that she was a natural.
Over the years, we have become very good friends. We have shared each other’s joys and sorrows, sung in church together, bowled together, and played cards together in the lobbies of various hotels along the show circuit. She even joined in our costume fun at the Cincinnati show several times. And Melinda got the first-hand account of my son Ryan’s first date with Emily before I did – he was flying to Tampa to vacation with me after the Clearwater show, and she surprised him at the gate while she was waiting for her flight home from the same show.
And yes – Melinda has become one of those “sisters I never had.”
Sunday morning at the York convention, Melinda told me that she has breast cancer. I needed to grab a piece of the gridwall in our booth to hold myself up.
The stage is uncertain at this point, but she will be having surgery on November 7 – hopefully a lumpectomy, though that too is uncertain. That will be followed by radiation, and possibly by chemo depending on what the surgeon finds.
I asked Melinda if her news was for public consumption, and her response was “You can tell anyone you want – I’d like all the prayers I can get.” Melinda is a woman of tremendous faith – she had it long before she started working for the Inspiration Network in Charlotte several years ago. And she told me that she is at peace with the process.
So please shower my sister with prayers and e-mails of support – her e-mail address is email@example.com
Addendum – Melinda has received lots of e-mails (thanks!) with requests for her address to send cards, and she asked that I post it:
1888 Huntington Place
Rock Hill, SC 29732