Anissa Dawn Mayhew passed away Thursday, July 6, 2017 unexpectedly and peacefully in her sleep.
She leaves behind her loving husband of 19 years, Peter Mayhew; son, Nathaniel; and two daughters, Rachael and Peyton; parents, Dale and Dixie Means; sister-in-law, Betty Means and family; and sister, Angela Means Grimble, brother-in-law Tom and their family.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Warren and Helen Means and Norman and Rachael Drake.
Born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted at the age of three, Anissa's early years were spent enjoying life in a small farming community surrounded by a large extended family. During her teen years she and her parents eventually moved to Daytona Beach, Florida where she graduated from High School. She was always reading and writing, even as a young child.
She and her husband Peter met in 1996, went on one date, and it was love at first sight. They were together from that moment. They moved from Daytona Beach to Colorado Springs to Brandon, Florida and finally settled in Newnan, Georgia.
In 2005, Anissa suffered her first stroke, from which she struggled to recover.
In 2006, Anissa's protective mommy-mode came alive and she willed herself back to full health because her children needed her, especially her youngest daughter, Peyton. During that time, Peyton was diagnosed with Leukemia, and Anissa began journaling her family's experience. Over the next three years while her family was fighting cancer, she wrote about the daily real life struggles and triumphs they faced at www.hope4peyton.org
It was her way of coping with all the challenges. Her love for life soon became a beacon of hope for other families struggling, and she became a huge advocate for families suffering pediatric cancer.
In 2008, after Peyton had beaten cancer, Anissa wanted to further her writing and started several of her own sites: her personal site freeanissa.com and a few collaborative satire sites called AimingLow – her personal form of aiming low was using Twitter to stalk her childhood crush, Ralph Macchio – and InsertEyeRoll. She worked hard to bring together talented writers from all walks of life, and is said to have helped encourage and begin several writing careers. This solidified her presence as a humor writer and collaborator.
In 2009, the family moved to Newnan, Ga., and Anissa suffered two devastating strokes. She spent 18 days in a coma, three weeks in the ICU, three more weeks in a nursing home and seven weeks at Shepherd Center.
Together with her family they persevered with grace, love, laughter and prayers, as she fought her way back to them. The Internet support she received during her recovery was simply amazing, even causing Twitter to crash. People from around the world followed her story, sent well wishes and gifts. Throughout the year after the strokes, many friends' hands-on help was an immeasurable comfort. Her family will forever be indebted to you all.
After her recovery, she continued to work … she just did it with one hand and from a wheelchair. During the last 10 years, she wrote about her daughter's fight with cancer, her own fight to recover, her love of coffee and always found reasons to still laugh and get people together.
As her body was failing her, she pulled back from writing so she could focus her remaining time with her family. Through it all, she loved her family and friends and loved to laugh. She had every reason not to, or to be thankful, but she always saw the positive in any situation. She was truly an inspiration and you know how much she loved that moniker....
If you know Anissa, you know that she would want a celebration of life, including color, sarcasm, laughter and hugs. The family wishes for a summer theme, so don't be shy, but please do not wear black, or "funeral clothes." But don't feel bad if you are too formal for that, wear a brightly colored tie or scarf.
The service is Saturday, July 15 at the Crossroads Church, 2564 GA-154; Newnan, GA 30265. Visitation, 1-3 p.m., and the service will be at 3 p.m. There will be a reception following.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to be made to help fight pediatric cancers at the 1Voice Foundation, 123 W. Bloomingdale Ave. Brandon, FL 33511.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.higginsfuneralhomes.com
In her memory...she would want you to live in her mission statement: to be thankful for something everyday. Do not take yourself too seriously. Make a new friend, or call an old one. Play a practical joke on someone. Laugh often. Hug your family, swear frequently and adopt an animal. Eat the desserts you love. Drive your car like you stole it. Start that new business you've been talking about forever, and, for goodness sakes, quit the job you hate. Do not wait for life to find you: live better, do better, have more fun doing it. Embrace life.