ORANGE PARK, Fla. --Fleming Island High School teachers and alumni are remembering a former student who has lost her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.
23-year-old Melissa Boyett was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs. At age 14, she had her first double lung transplant, but later had complications and learned she had lymphoma in both lungs, so she was placed back on a transplant list.
She had a second double lung transplant, but her body rejected it. She livedher life with a mission called 'give second chances' to inspire people to become organ donors.
"She would come and speak to my students after she graduated and always with a smile on her face, never sad, never whiny. The kids would hear her stories and say 'this can't be true you're so happy and full of life' and she would say 'yea I am,'" said Mark Roberts, a teacher at Fleming Island High School.
Roberts said he had the privilege of having Melissa as a student in his TV production class for three years prior to her graduating in 2008. Roberts said she loved school and was a dedicated student.
"Took her school work seriously and would get upset when other kids would skip or took a sick day because she wanted to be here. They would take her her homework and it would be scattered across her hospital bed and she would read and write essays and do math and read science books," said Roberts.
Roberts said Melissa never complained no matter how difficult things got. He said she always had faith even up until the end.
"Her testimony literally went to her death bed where she witnessed to male nurse, who said he couldn't believe in God because he saw so much suffering, and she with her gentle voice said, told him 'I believe in God,'" said Roberts.
Her youngest brother Matthew Boyett said there were many times where everyone said their goodbyes, but he knew she would always pull through, except for this last time, where her kidneys had shut down.
"We each took time with her alone and I couldn't say goodbye but I just picked her up and held her and just cried," said Boyett.