An Unexpected Connection
Melany Stawnyczyj’s 4-year-old son, Roman, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Her husband had also served as a drill instructor at MCRD Parris Island, from 2005-2008, and lived aboard Laurel Bay as well, where she and Amanda became fast friends. In fact, Melany and Amanda were actually pregnant with their children at the same time. Both families have since moved away from the Beaufort area, but in true military life fashion, their families have remained close.
When Roman was diagnosed, Amanda was of course saddened by this, and supported her surrogate mil-fam from afar. When she was faced with her own child’s diagnosis after an emergency surgery due to organ failure, Amanda had a very candid conversation with the ICU physician, telling him that they had a really good friend whose son has cancer and that made it easier to explain to Katie what was going on.
Upon learning that both women were pregnant at the same location and that both children were only a few weeks apart in age, the doctor urged Amanda to discuss this information with Katie’s oncology team because he didn’t think it was a coincidence.