Melissa Coles was 18 years old and pregnant. Laying on the table awaiting the procedure that would terminate her pregnancy, a voice said ‘Get up! There’s still time.’ The touch of the doctor’s hand on her leg as he began preparation for the abortion brought Melissa back to reality. She jerked her feet out of the stirrups, sat up and said ‘Stop. I can’t do this!’
Nineteen years later, her son, who was placed for adoption wanted to meet her.
The short documentary I Lived on Parker Avenue about a mother’s agony in choosing what’s best, the joy of a couple starting a family, and young man’s search for where his life began has inspired the feature film, LIFEMARK, produced by the Kendrick Brothers and Kirk Cameron, coming to theaters September 2022.
"Melissa's story is a powerful testimony of the gift God has given his broken world through adoption. The award-winning documentary that she showed during her presentation was very powerful, and our donors were extremely responsive to her story.This year's banquet was one of the best attended and financially successful banquets of our center's ministry thus far. Melissa's story helped our donors better understand how adoption can impact multiple lives and we have had a great response from donors wanting to get involved in our ministry since the banquet."
"We just had Melissa come speak to our group last evening. It was such a moving experience I had to jump on letting everyone know what a wonderful speaker she is with an honest, genuine story of hope, courage and how God can bring good out of any circumstance. She speaks from the heart, you walk her journey with her anticipating the beautiful outcome. While listening to Melissa speak animatedly I felt the emotional impact of each of her decisions that have now molded her into the woman she is today. That woman wants to shed light and speak openly about the experience of teen pregnancy and the choices, consequences, as well as the emotional toll it takes on all involved. She will make an impact on anyone she shares her life with in a way that could turn the direction of the path many families and communities are heading down now. We had people the ages of young children to grandparents attend and all were complementary of her on how she delivered a hot button issue in a heartfelt personal way."
"Melissa Coles gave her testimony at our Fall 2019 Kickoff event. She spoke after the documentary was shown and you could have heard a pin drop. Her mesage is inspiring, genuine and powerful! She has a way of connecting with people because of her sensitive nature and is extremely relatable and down to earth. She is not afraid to speak the truth in a gentle way or make herself vulnerable by giving her testimony. She was also funny, lighthearted and got laughs by incorporating our local term "yinzers" into her talk! Her story is meant to be told and God is using her in a powerful way! She spoke to over 250 people of varied ages. It was an amazing and wonderful evening that lifted up and united the Pittsburgh Pro-Life community. Melissa was willing to work with the event team to convey our goals of increasing participation in the 40 Days for Life vigil. We received 100% positive comments from people who attended. Do not hesitate to invite her to your event, she made our event awesome!"
"Melissa Coles was a powerful speaker for our 49th annual National Right to Life Convention in Charleston, South Carolina. She is an absolute joy to work with--she is very kind, prompt and even had her own exhibit booth during the entire duration of the convention. She was able to interact with our attendees on a whole new personal level, which they all appreciated. Melissa spoke after Justin Butterfield, an attorney at HHS' Office of Civil Rights, and before Ashley Bratcher, the star of Unplanned. She took our audience through her journey of choosing life. Numerous attendees came up to the convention staff to tell us how wonderful of a speaker she is and how her courage to choose life opened their eyes further to the powers of adoption. She successfully and wholeheartedly conveyed the message to always choose life. We are so happy that she was able to join us and hope to see her again in the future!"
"Over 350 students attended the conference from over 20 Archdiocesan and private schools and Melissa Coles did an amazing job in bringing the message of "The Beauty of Adoption...A Selfless Love"! In all the years we have had speakers, never have we had the Q & A go more than 40 min. Melissa went for over an hour and we had to stop the Q & A line of students to move on to the other speakers. Students were very engaged and asked heartfelt questions. Melissa spoke from her heart and was very real with her audience. Students remarked how it was one of the best conferences we had! Melissa was very inspirational and certainly left an impact on the students in attendance. Her courage and love of life is contagious and it brings us hope in a world that desperately needs it!"
"Guests had the opportunity to watch "I Lived On Parker Ave" and by the end of the film there wasn't a dry eye in the room. The story touched people, even the caterers! It left them wanting more. When Melissa spoke everyone was entranced by what she had to say…Mrs. Coles emphasized the importance of the phrase "how can I help?" She went on to say "it doesn't have to be money, money doesn't have to be the only way you help"…people left the banquet feeling engaged, empowered, and inspired and there is no dollar amount equivalent to that…Melissa we can't thank you enough for all that you do to help women, men, the unborn, and to defend life!"
"I can not recommend Melissa Coles as a speaker for your pro-life event enough. She's down to earth and relaxed in the best way possible. You feel like you've know her for years and she's one of your close friends. In the world for pro-life advocacy and activism, many of us are familiar with the talking points and rallying cries. Yet Melissa brought something to our event that I had never heard before, and it absolutely blew me away. I won't spoil the surprise -- all I'll say is, you'll never look at a child's fingerprint artwork the same way again."
"I recommend Melissa as a woman, mother and presenter. Her testimony is brave and unfiltered allowing those that have the opportunity to hear her speak and share her story with others that may desperately need of this honesty, hope and love."
"(Melissa's) words were spoken with depth and wisdom. She had everyone in tears! She has an incredible ability to be raw, honest and authentic. The diverse audience responded with a spontaneous standing ovation for her! I highly recommend Melissa to share her story. Her life testimony transcends any demographic and because she has a sweet spirit she can read her audience with discretion. I believe every generation would benefit from hearing her faith journey and “Brave Yes!” Her courage is riveting and inspiring."