January 7, 2005 - October 29, 2023
Nicholas Vincent Melomo, eighteen years old and from Raleigh, passed away in his home peacefully while embraced by the love of his family on Sunday, October 29. Nicholas had been living boldly and bravely with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, for nearly four years. Nicholas’ cancer took his right leg, parts of his lung, and eventually his life, but it could never take his indomitable spirit. Like most pediatric cancer patients, Nicholas wanted it be known that he did not lose his battle to cancer, but that more funding is needed to help children and young adults like him to thrive and survive. Nicholas touched many, many lives in his short 18 years, and his strength and kindness have been an inspiration to all.
Nicholas is the son of Vincent and Lee Melomo of Raleigh, NC, who could not have hoped for a more wonderful child, and a grandson to Max and Peggy Walser of Lexington, NC, who could not have been more devoted grandparents. He was also very much loved by his grandmother Irene Melomo, of Oak Island, NC. Nicholas also leaves behind Henry, a younger brother of fourteen. Henry was a gift to Nicholas, and Nicholas was the center of Henry’s world, and they loved each other dearly. Nicholas was also very close to his cousins, Will and Sam, sons of Lee’s brother Wes and his wife Joy Barker Walser; and, his cousins Christopher, Zoe and Evie, children of his father’s sister Rosemarie and her husband Joel.
Nicholas was born in Raleigh on January 7, 2005, an unseasonably warm and beautiful day. He has lived in the same house in the woods of West Raleigh since his birth. He attended Combs Elementary Leadership Magnet School just up the street from his home. When not playing with trains or video games, Nicholas participated in Science Olympiad and Chess Club at Combs, and was a favorite of his teachers. Nicholas attended Moore Square GT Magnet School for his middle school grades, and again contributed to the successes of his Science Olympiad Team. For high school, Nicholas attended Enloe GT Magnet, where he developed the most loving and supportive friendships anyone could hope to have. Nicholas had many diverse interests that he pursued at school and beyond. He particularly loved graphic arts, photography, astronomy, fancy sports cars, and flying. And, throughout his journey, he found his greatest pleasure in playing video games and watching movies with his friends and family. He loved everything from Interstellar to Puss in Boots, Super Mario Brothers to Grand Theft Auto. Most significant though, was his love for animals. He leaves behind three hens, a tank full of fish, a goldfish pond, a joyously playful green-cheeked conure named Clover, and his beloved cat Sunny. Even as death neared, he found some of his greatest comfort in petting his littlest brother, Sunny.
Throughout his journey, Nicholas had many exceptional adventures. He especially enjoyed his time at his family beach house on Oak Island, a place that he loved sharing with his friends. There he enjoyed riding the waves, kayaking the marsh, boating in the waterway, flying in helicopters, watching turtles hatch, and gazing at the Milky Way. Nicholas also loved spending time at Lee’s parents’ cabin in Ashe County, and at their home and farm in Lexington. From middle school into high school, Nicholas was a member of Scout Troop 398, and he enjoyed many camping trips with them. He was a scout when first diagnosed in February 2020, and he cherished the support of his scout family throughout his journey. In August 2021, Nicholas and his family had the privilege of attending the NASA affiliate Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, due to a scholarship for pediatric cancer patients. You can learn more about his experience by searching online, as he was featured in a local news story and participated in an international online panel on “disability inclusion and hyper-abilities in space.” Nicholas also had the pleasure of swimming with dolphins on several occasions. He was a particular fan of Winter, the famous dolphin who wore a prosthetic tail, featured in the book and movie Dolphin Tale. Mostly, Nicholas was an incredibly loyal, devoted, and generous friend, and always sought to share the richness of life with his friends – from countless movie nights and sleepovers, to Halloween and birthday parties, to trips to the beach and the mountains.
Two memorial events will be held for Nicholas. The first will be Saturday, November 11, from 1:30-4:30, at his home in Raleigh. The event is for close family and friends, and local supporters, to remember Nicholas in the spaces he most enjoyed. Guests are encouraged to visit anytime during those hours, and memorial tributes will be offered at 3pm. A more traditional service will be held for Nicholas on Saturday, November 18th at 2pm at his mother’s family church, Grace Episcopal in Lexington, NC. All who supported Nicholas throughout his journey are welcome to attend.
In order to continue to do good in Nicholas’ name, the family encourages donations to several charities that served Nicholas and/or that he supported. A fund in Nicholas’ name has been set up with MIB (Make it Better), an organization dedicated specifically to osteosarcoma research and care for patients and families, and that was an invaluable support to Nicholas and his family. To help other children and their families on this incredibly difficult journey please contribute here: https://www.mibagents.org/family-funds/nicholas-melomo You can also make donations to Transitions LifeCare, the hospice organization that helped Nicholas and his family at the most difficult time. When donating, please select “Transitions Kids” to provide support for terribly underserved pediatric families: https://www.transitionslifecare.org/donate/ Nicholas shared a love of animals of all kinds with his mother. Lee volunteered at Carolina Tiger Rescue before Nicholas fell ill, and Nicholas loved visiting there as well. Please contribute to CTR to support the big cats that Nicholas and Lee love so much: https://carolinatigerrescue.org/donate/?country=US Nicholas’ closest animal friend was his cat Sunny whom he has cared for since he was four years old. Sunny was a stray, who in time had diabetes, and Nicholas would do anything to support cats in need. The Goathouse Refuge is a sanctuary for cats of all kinds and conditions that Nicholas loved visiting, and would love for you to support: https://www.goathouserefuge.org/gift-donation/