Survivor and advocate for quality care close to home
By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo
Resident Melissa Rufenacht-Sanchez was in her second year on a breast cancer support fundraising committee at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital (CRAH) when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Melissa said she had a committee meeting two days after she was diagnosed and had to keep it together until the end of the meeting when she let her friends know about her diagnosis.
“I was always healthy so it all came as a big shock to me,” Melissa shared. Her first surgery was in Denver and she found the hospital intimidating. “I wanted to be closer to home and not have to go so far for all my treatments,” Melissa said. Her work at CRAH as a volunteer made her comfortable there, and so when she had to have a second surgery, she chose CRAH. “We truly have a gem of a hospital in our community,” Melissa added.
Her personal health journey at CRAH cemented her commitment and passion to volunteer there. Melissa is on the Foundation Initiative Team (FIT) and is the chair of the Cancer Care Campaign at CRAH which has big goals ahead. CRAH is breaking ground on a new building on January 5 where, if successfully supported through community philanthropy, will be the future home of cancer care in Castle Rock.
Melissa said the plan includes space on one of the floors in the new building for infusion treatments and a radiation machine in a separate area, allowing patients to receive care locally.
“We all go through hard times and have our challenges, but you have to keep pressing forward. Giving back, it gives you purpose,” Melissa said.
Melissa is also co-owner of A-line Boutique in Castle Rock. “A high-end boutique was needed in the community,” Melissa said, adding that her favorite part about the boutique is meeting the women in our community and seeing how the talented stylists at the store pull outfits together for them.
Melissa was born and raised in Denver and her grandparents still live in the house they built in the 1940s. A Castle Pines resident since 1999, Melissa has two children, 16-year-old Lexi and 12-year-old Preston. “They make my heart so full,” Melissa shared. Melissa and her husband, Dr. Anthony Sanchez were married on July 9 last year at the Broadmoor Hotel after dating for seven years. “Anthony has two kids too so we’re now one big happy blended family,” Melissa exclaimed.
Healthy, active, stylish and strong in her faith, Melissa said she is fulfilled by supporting and helping others. “I soak in every day and cherish it,” Melissa exclaimed.
For more information on the Cancer Care Campaign, visit https://www.rmahf.org/castlerock.html.