Leesville Alum Meredith Bissette Named “A Medical Mystery”

Meredith and Matt pose for a picture at Meredith’s signing day at Leesville back in 2014. Meredith is now a sophomore at USF and Matt is a senior at Leesville.

The last two months have been a rollercoaster for Meredith Bissette.

Meredith, an alumni of Leesville and a sophomore at the University of South Florida, has been battling a well documented fight against chordoma cancer since April of this year. For those who don’t know, chordoma cancer is a rare cancer type that occurs in the bones of the head and spine. The location of this cancer is what makes it especially dangerous, not to mention the fact that it’s median survival rate is only seven years.

However, just a week ago, Meredith’s mom, Marlene, shared a Facebook post that changed the narrative of Meredith’s fight altogether.

“I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES…the oncology team in Boston has named Meredith ‘a medical mystery’…we have been informed this week that Meredith does NOT have CHORDOMA CANCER,” said Marlene in what was just a snippet of the thrilling news.

While Meredith still has the tumor that the doctors were originally so concerned with, somehow the tumor is now cancer-free, and that is why the doctors have deemed it a medical mystery. While Meredith is still traveling to Boston (the location of the nation’s top doctors who specialize in her cancer type) frequently, having the word “cancerous” removed from her situation will be a huge burden lifted off her shoulders.

“Doctors across the nation are calling her a medical mystery due to the sudden vanishing of the cancer so it’s kind of cool to have a sister who is truly a miracle,” said Meredith’s younger brother Matt.

According to the Facebook post, Meredith will start medication to hopefully shrink the tumor for approximately three months, have a surgery to remove the tumor altogether, and then partake in rehab with a goal of getting back to school after Christmas. Her medication could be started sooner if her labs continue to improve, which would speed the process along even more.

“We still have a long journey ahead of us because she still needs her tumor removed but obviously we feel a lot better now that she is cancer-free,” said Bissette.

Meredith has garnered national attention over her struggle with cancer. The word first started to spread via news outlets locally in Tampa where the University of Florida is located. Then ESPNW wrote a feature on her which made her story known almost everywhere. In the Leesville community alone, the Bissette family has seen a tremendous outpouring of support for the girl that once broke the Leesville home run record, earned Softball MVP honors her senior year, achieved perfect attendance, and made A/B honor roll.

“While (Meredith) was gone, the Leesville family has been a big help to us. It’s been great always having the support of my classmates and teachers; I felt like they were there with us the whole time making sure we were taken care of. I truly felt like Leesville was a second family looking out for me,” said Bissette.

Matt went on to say that not only has the encouragement from the Pride family been important, but the Leesville community has gone as far as cooking meals for his family, donating graciously to Meredith’s go fund me account, and forming prayer groups, one of the things Meredith’s mom, Marlene, has been very thankful for.

Throughout all of the chaos and emotions the Bissette’s have endured these past two months, Matt said one thing stayed consistent.

“It was tough at first for us but Meredith was the strongest one out of all of us. Smiles never left her face and that gave us hope for when she left for Boston for treatment.”

Now that Meredith has overcome the odds and been declared cancer-free, not only can the Bissette family breathe a little, but that contagious smile that Meredith is known for won’t be wiped away anytime soon.

(Editor’s Note: Meredith may be cancer free, but her fight isn’t over yet. To contribute to Meredith’s go fund me account, you can visit this link. If you’d like to contribute otherwise, you can reach out to Leesville’s Paul Dinkenor who has been leading many of the support efforts for the Bissette family. His email is pdinkenor@wcpss.net. Lastly, to promote Meredith’s story and spread awareness of chordoma cancer, you can use the hashtag #merebearstrong on social media.)


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