Melissa immediately went into the fight. She fought as hard as she could, showing toughness and perseverance, refusing to give up. She participated in new treatments and clinical trials. It was hard, with all three of her children playing collegiate athletics, but the entire family rallied around her.
After battling for over four and a half years, Melissa passed away from cancer in June 2023. Throughout her ordeal, she continued to serve as an inspiration of strength to Gracie and the whole Johnson family.
“I’m extremely inspired by my mom,” Gracie said. “She was a fighter all the way until the very end. She never complained about her treatment or what she [was] going through, and I know it wasn’t easy for her. Seeing her power through to the very last day is so inspiring, and I just want to take the light that she had every day and take that on the court and in life.”
In years past, Melissa was in the stands nearly every game, supporting her daughter loudly and proudly. Her family often joked that her goal was to get on the jumbotron each game.