I contacted a local TV reporter who I was "friends" with on Facebook. I sent her a message asking her to do a story on melanoma during May, since it is Melanoma Awareness month. I told her a little of my story and gave her the link to this blog and my facebook page, "My Journey with Melanoma". I received a quick response and she said that she was going to start covering melanoma on the news tonight and that she was going to be doing their weekly Newsmaker show on melanoma. Then, she asked if I wanted to be at their studio in the morning since the scheduled quest canceled. Ummm, YES!!!!!! I wouldn't have ever imagined that I would be doing something like this! I was always the shy, quiet girl. I am NOT a public speaker, but amazingly (right now anyway!) I am not nervous! I am just excited! I just hope that I can remember everything that I want to say! This is such a blessing.
I am not the only melanoma warrior out there spreading the word. My friend, Kerry of PrettyPale.org has been a huge advocate for melanoma awareness. She owns Kspin Designs, which is a children's clothing boutique. She is a melanoma survivor. She is amazing! This whole month, she will be out there giving away free samples, and spreading awareness about melanoma. She does this tirelessly! She is giving pale is beautiful knew meaning! Hopefully, someday soon, we will accept our natural skin color.
Another friend of mine, Chelsea, has been spreading melanoma awareness by blogging on Adventures With My Enemy...Melanoma, doing interviews on HLN with Dr. Drew and again today on HLN. She is Stage 3 and was diagnosed very young with melanoma. She is in a clinical trial and is a true inspiration!
Susan, from Jilly's Jems, which is a non-profit organization for melanoma research, is a mother of a young daughter, Jillian, who is Stage 4. She makes and sells beautiful bracelets and prayer beads. She also is an advocate for melanoma awareness. The proceeds from the sales of Jilly's Jems is split. Part goes to Melanoma research and awareness and another part goes to a scolarship fund that was set up for a local soccer club in Jillian's name. The beneficiary is a child who can not afford to enter the program and this allows that child to play. She is a "Mama Bear" and I had the pleasure of meeting her in February at a melanoma benefit for another warrior Eric, Stage 4. What a wonderful person!
Reverend Carol, of Melanoma Prayer Center and Melanoma Grief Chapel, is a source of wonderful information, wonderful advice, and wonderful support! She is just wonderful! She also writes a blog Attitude of Gratitude. She is one of the first people I connected with during this journey. She is not only informative, she is smart and compassionate. She is there for all of us warriors and she is one herself. Stage 3b.
There are many more warriors and many more spreading awareness. There are many who are fighting the battle of their lives. They might not look sick. They might not have hair. They might be very depressed with their struggle. There are many who have passed away after long battles with the beast. Some passed soon after being diagnosed. In the past year that I have been diagnosed, I have known of too many. My goal by doing this TV interview is that with May being Prom season as well, and a lot of teens are tanning to look good in that prom dress. I want to tell the dark side of tanning. You may look great with that tan, but that tan will catch up to you someday, probably when you least expect it. You can tell yourself all the things I told myself. "It's just skin cancer", "They will just cut it off, no big deal". "I never burn, I don't have to worry." ALL FALSE!! I hope someday that there will be a cure for melanoma. Right now there is not.
Please protect yourself and your children! Wear sunscreen when you are outdoors and avoid peak times between 10 am and 4 pm. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. You should also wear sunglasses, as melanoma can attack the eyes.
Some statistics of melanoma:
Tanning in a tanning bed just once, increases your chance of melanoma by 75%.
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer and the most common cancer in 20-29 year olds.
If caught in the earliest stages, melanoma is entirely treatable
with a survival rate of nearly 100%. If untreated and allowed to spread,
there is no known treatment or cure.
One bad burn in child hood increases your risk of melanoma.
One person every hour dies from melanoma.
Bob Marley died of melanoma, that started in his toe. He was 36 years old.
DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC! I will go tomorrow and speak for those that aren't here with us any longer. I will speak for those that can't. I speak for all of us affected by this horrible cancer. I speak for the Samantha's, the Miranda's, the Eric's, the Keri's, the Kitty's and for all the melanoma warrior angels that have battled with such strength and grace. I speak for the Briana's, the Eric's, the Jillian's, the Grace's and the Steve's that are battling to live. I speak for all the caregiver's, parents, siblings, friends, spouses and children that are touched by this. I speak, and you can too!