Moms Rock: Melanie is a Mom on a Mission

Author: NF Network
Published On: 11/24/2022

Melanie Leach’s life took an unexpected turn when her son Zac was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. Like many parents who receive the diagnosis for the first time, Melanie sought out answers to this disorder that would bring a handful of uncertainties. Through her research, Melanie found the medical care she needed for Zac and discovered a network of support through the NF Network.

With answers of her own, Melanie wanted to take her involvement a step further. Realizing her family couldn’t be the only NF family in Florida, Melanie began the #NFStrong 5K for Neurofibromatosis in the heart of Orlando. Over the last decade, the walk has grown to reach new families and communities and led to new community and educational events across Florida, including an #NFStrong 5K in the Florida Suncoast and NF Symposiums with the AdventHealth NF Clinic.

As the community grew, Melanie was determined to continue to make a difference – not only for Zac, but for the entire Florida NF community and the NF community across the country. Melanie joined the NF Network Advocacy Program, representing the state of Florida and sharing her story with congressional offices, advocating for federal funding for NF research. Her work has resulted in dozens of signatures of support from Florida representatives year after year. 

In recent years, after a new member of the AdventHealth NF Clinic joined its ranks, Melanie and the NF Network have partnered with Dr. Herb Newton of AdventHealth Hospital to bring Docs Rock for NF – a benefit concert for neurofibromatosis – to the central Florida community. Now, for the first time since 2019, Stone Lotus, a modern and classic rock cover band consisting of medical and health professionals, returns to the live stage to help raise funds and awareness for neurofibromatosis. With an incredible selection of silent auction items, gathered by Melanie, there is sure to be fun for the whole family. Learn more by visiting the Docs Rock for NF page and join us on Saturday, December 10th. 

Melanie continues to inspire us in the ways she continues to grow, serve, and support not only the local and national NF community, but most importantly her incredible family. Despite the challenges and obstacles that they have faced, Melanie has overcome these opportunities with grace. Melanie is a mom on a mission – for a cure and better treatments for Zac and her NF friends and families – and a true reminder of why moms rock!  

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