In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2021
The YouTube community has lost a beloved member, Melanie Ham.
The social media star’s husband Robert announced “with a heavy heart and deep sadness” that his “sweet, amazing, beautiful wife Melanie” died on Jan. 12 following her battle with cancer. She was 36 years old.
“If you’ve been following our journey I’m sure you were, like us, hopeful she could defeat this insidious disease,” he wrote in a Jan. 12 Instagram post. “Over the past few months things have been progressively getting worse and we’re thankful that we made it to this point through the holidays and tried to make every moment count.”
Robert revealed that Melanie passed away just nine days before their 16th anniversary. “My family, our doctors, our nurses and especially Melanie fought until the end and did all we could do to avoid today, but that is not our path,” he continued. “Let me reassure all those rooting for us, Melanie fought like a warrior queen.”
During her lifetime, Melanie created crochet, quilting, sewing and DIY tutorials via her YouTube channel, where she’d accumulated about 811,000 subscribers, and her blog. In his message, Robert described Melanie as someone who “loved passionately, created beautifully, provided abundantly and was my best friend all the way to the end.”
At the end of his post, he asked her followers to “hug those you love today, put up a toast of Bourbon (her favorite, that she hasn’t partaken in during her journey) and say a prayer” for their two “beautiful, strong children.”
In December 2018, doctors discovered a mass on Melanie’s left kidney. She had surgery the following week, she explained in a 2019 blog post, in which she had her left kidney, the mass and two lymph nodes removed. Afterwards, she learned the tumor was benign.
But in August 2020, she shared with her followers that the mass had returned. “So, it was a benign mass,” she said in a YouTube video at the time, “but now it’s not.” As she wrote in a blog post, the “tumor came back in multiple locations, very rapidly.”
Melanie said she had an Epithelioid Angiomyolipoma or PEComa, which she described as part of the “Sarcoma family of cancers” and “very very rare.” She continued to keep fans updated on her surgeries and cancer treatment. Her last health update post was in October 2021.
“Back in May you might remember I had a surgery. The goal was to be tumor free and the procedure was a success at the hands of my amazing surgeons,” she wrote at the time. “We were very happy with the outcome…. but only 5 weeks after surgery I had new symptoms and after a scan we discovered that the cancer spread and had become very aggressive… again.”
Melanie described the news as “another one of those gut punches” but didn’t lose hope.
“The next best option was to try and get things under control, so we immediately started a harsher chemo regimen,” she wrote. “So in June, I started a drug combo that made my hair fall out and have some of the ‘chemo’ side effects I had so far been able to avoid. That was a really hard moment for me. Robert shaved my head and we just cried together. We were of course hopeful that this chemo would work but after a few rounds we scanned again and the chemo wasn’t doing a darn thing – all the cancer was still progressing. Another gut punch.”
She noted she “switched chemo drugs” at the end of August and after experiencing “some complications” in September was “doing much better.”
“We’re always trying to stay optimistic that this will be the treatment that works, but the truth is there is no clear path on how to battle this,” she wrote, “so we’re just gonna keep fighting.”
A celebration of life for Melanie will be held on Jan. 29.