Our organization began after the loss of my sister, Melissa Borash. She passed away unexpectedly on June 4th, 2019; just 3 days before her 24th birthday. She was artistic, brave and generous. The design on the shirt is a blend of her artwork and a family member's - a tree of life.
Our mission provides support to the homeless and those struggling with addiction in Saint Paul through outreach. We are a bunch of good people doing good things, because the world needs it. Melissa was a genuinely good person and we aim to spread her spirit in all that we do.
Please also support us by finding us on Facebook at facebook.com/MySistersMissionMN for up to date information regarding our mission.
Please keep reading for more details on our story:
(Melissa on left, Ashley (me) in middle, Lilly on right)
Melissa had the most beautiful, kind and caring soul that would always put others first; even if it meant draining herself more. She was a phenomenal mother who cared for her son with every ounce of her being and she was an outstanding daughter, sister, fiancé and aunt.
She was very open and spoke frequently about her fight against addiction and how difficult it was. Her life was in a great place with plans for her future for the first time in her life and then she was taken from us. She relapsed with a “bad batch” and because of that, she is no longer here. Melissa was 17 weeks along with a baby girl, Josephine, who we also lost that day. Addiction steals some of the most beautiful souls and I know we're not the only family to recognize that.
Shortly after her passing, her fiancé Jon decided to start a movement in her honor to Spread Melissa’s Spirit and to #PayItForwardForMel. We compiled a list of 10 things you could do that she had done in the past to keep her memory alive. If you would like to be a member of this group, please find us on Facebook and request to be added to “Paying It Forward in Memory of Melissa”. It was this movement that kickstarted our organization, My Sister's Mission. We wanted some good to come out of a terrible situation and this was the perfect way.
A few weeks after Melissa passed, Tristan contacted me with an idea that she and her niece had. We had spoken a few times about her niece, Luree, in the past as Luree struggled with the same addiction as Melissa. Tristan and I bonded over our common enemy – heroin addiction. My sister had struggled with substance abuse for as long as I can remember and I had a lot of experience watching someone destroy themselves to attempt self-medication. I studied psychology in college and took multiple addiction classes to better understand why things were happening the way they were with my sister and the other people in my life who battled addiction. I shared my insight with Tristan on a few occasions and mostly just solidarity in our misery of being unable to help our loved ones.
(Luree on left, Tristan on right)
Luree spent a good amount of time living on the streets in Ohio, when Tristan took her in, they had discussed these times and Luree shared how touching it was to receive stuff from random people. Thus, the idea – providing goods and items to the unsheltered.
Although Tristan and I have very different stories, one thing remains consistent: we lost someone we loved dearly to the monster of addiction. We do this work now, in their memory as they are no longer here to do it with us. These two people have shaped this organization into something much bigger than I ever could have imagined. What started as a mere thought towards paying it forward in Melissa’s memory has blossomed into a phenomenal outreach with even bigger dreams on the horizon.
We will do absolutely everything necessary to keep the memory of our loved ones alive. They will never leave us and are with us every time we spread kindness and love. This is their legacy.