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Cancer survivor is fab over 40

Melissa Littler is a survivor. She has overcome a cascade of tremendous trials: the death of her father, divorce, a severe car accident, cancer and more. Despite life sending wave after wave of trials her way, Littler has stood tall and proven her resilience.

Her secret? It’s all about the mindset, she said. A mindset of positivity leads to resilience and healing. And it is this secret that has propelled the Beamsville resident through the ‘Fab over 40’ contest, an international competition put on by NewBeauty magazine in


support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

In a contest all about women over 40 sharing their stories, experiences and struggles, Melissa Littler’s has captured the attention of many.

The past decade has not been an easy one for Littler.

“I had 10 years of chaos in my life,” she said.

First, her father died of cancer, then Littler suffered a painful divorce. Physical injury followed the emotional, when in 2014, she suffered a head-on, automotive collision.

“I had to be airlifted to St. Joe’s in Hamilton where doctors basically rebuilt my right arm,” said Littler. “I had to walk with a cane as I recovered.”

Prior to the accident, Littler was teaching full time at St. Edward Catholic Elementary School in Jordan. She eagerly went back to teach once she was able to, even as she was still recovering in the long term.

“I still wanted to work, I still wanted that purpose while I was recovering,” she said. “We confront these hurdles in life and we overcome them when we have the right mindset.”

The biggest hurdle was yet to come shortly after Littler returned to teaching full time in 2015.

While reviewing the results of a medical examination, Littler’s physician noticed an unusual spot in her throat. A follow-up examination confirmed a diagnosis of throat cancer, known to be a very aggressive form of the disease. However, even here Littler could find a glimmer of hope.

“It was a miracle they found it so early, because usually this kind of cancer isn’t detected until it’s too late,” she said. “The doctors moved very quickly and I had my first surgery by the end of the month. In total I had 9 endoscopies.”

As she gained the upper hand against the cancer, Littler said she still sought for new ways to improve herself. She lost 137 lbs. and has maintained that healthier physique. She has confronted an addiction to shopping and continues to endeavour to live sustainably through thrift clothing.

Littler is also very proud of her blogging. She said she’s found a platform for sharing her story and her philosophy about mindset through instagram posts. Littler regularly posts pictures she’s taken or found with written entries about life.

“It’s all about life, beauty and self-reflection,” she said. “A lot of my writings are life lessons. I try to be inspirational.”

She said there’s “something that appeals to everybody” in her instagram blogging, be it reflections on self-love and care or even sharing humour.

This year, Littler learned that she had been nominated for the ‘Fab over 40’ contest along with women across the globe. Voters look through all the biographies of the nominees and vote for whom they feel is the most elegant, fabulous and inspiring. Contestants who make the cut off move onto the next round.

Thus far, Melissa Littler has made it to the top 10, and, at the time of writing, is in second place to moving on to the top 5. Winning the competition comes with a prize of $40,000 cash, the “spa-cation of a lifetime”, and a two-spread in the NewBeauty magazine.

Littler explained that should she win, she will give a full $5,000 to Wellspring Niagara Cancer Support, an organization that helped her through her battle against cancer.

“I don’t often have an opportunity to donate such a large amount and as a cancer survivor I feel that it’s important that I give back,” Littler said.

However, even if she doesn’t make it to the grand prize, Littler said that she is happy for this opportunity to share her story. At the end of the day, she hopes to be able to inspire anyone who hears about her to be able to face the hurdles in their own lives with resilience and good cheer.

“It’s ok to have our weak moments, it’s impossible not to feel them, but you have to power through,” Littler said. “You need that positive mindset to get up and keep going. You need to say to yourself, “I get to wake up today,” because the truth is that every day is a gift.”

To help support Littler’s bid in the Fab over 40 contest, vote for her online on Participants get one free vote per day, but can purchase extra “Hope Votes”. Proceeds from this are donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation through the contest.

Melissa Littler’s writings can be found by searching @MellieLittler on Instagram.

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