Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thank you to the Best MelaPals a Girl Could Have!

I absolutely have the best melapals ever!!  They are a talented, amazing group of people.  They are strong and willing to share an encouraging word, or say a prayer when you are in need.  Cyber hugs too!  No questions asked.  They are kind and caring and are more supportive than some of my own friends.  They are also doing amazing things!  I would like to thank a few and give a little introduction to those that don't know them!

Firecrackers come in small packages! I am talking about Susan, who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of months ago.  She is known as "Mama Bear" in our melanoma community.  She has a way of getting the job done!  She is a mother of 4.  Her daughter, Jillian is fighting stage 4 melanoma.  She started Jilly's Jems, a non-profit organization dedicated to heighten awareness of Melanoma.  She makes beautiful prayer beads, key chains, cell phone charms and bracelets.  All proceeds go for melanoma awareness.  A portion will go to a local soccer club in Jillian's name to fund a child who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to play. This is a way for Jillian to give back to the sport she loves and coaches.  The rest of the proceeds go for melanoma research. Not only does Susan make all these beautiful items, she also is the driving force behind the recent billboards that were erected all over Michigan, where she lives.  She also contacted many news stations in effort to bring more awareness and here is the TV interview  that she did.  She has other projects in the works currently and I am proud to help her in one of them.  We are bringing faces to melanoma, which is something she has envisioned making into a video.  She writes a blog, "Jillian's Journey with Melanoma- A Mother's Story".   She is a really great mother and she is also a dear friend.  I want to thank you for giving so much of yourself to fighting melanoma and for being such a constant support for all of us. I love that you are not far away from me and I love the love you have for your family. Thank you!

Another friend I have met on this journey is, Kerry.  She is owner of Kspin Designs, which is a children's clothing boutique.  Kerry was a model and was diagnosed with melanoma.  In addition she has a non-profit Melanoma and Skin Cancer awareness organization called www.PrettyPale.Org.
Kerry works tirelessly to raise awareness of melanoma.  She has done several TV and radio interview.  She promotes sun safety and embracing your natural skin. She has a long list of things she does for melanoma awareness, most recently she has started a group on Facebook called where she talks beauty with all things melanoma.  She has always made me feel like safe and that we are going to beat this stupid cancer.   She is very giving and is simply AMAZING!  I want to thank you, Kerry, for giving up your personal time to travel around and spread the word.  You are selfless and so strong.  I admire you for all that you do and all that I know you will do.  Thank you!

Next, I would like to introduce my friend, Chelsea.  She is a beautiful,young, spunky melanoma diva.  Diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma in the prime of her life.  She is vocal about her dislike of all things melanoma, tanning and such.  She has done a lot for the cause like TV Interviews, and she has a wonderful blog called Adventures With My Enemy...Melanoma , which was one of the first blogs I came across when I was diagnosed.  She also writes for Every Day Health and is a very talented writer I might add!  She educates others with her story and wears her scars proudly.  She shares her fears openly.  She is a force to be reckoned with and I am glad to call her my friend.  Thank you Chelsea, for giving me the courage to let my voice be heard.  I am doing a couple of important projects for melanoma awareness and I am now comfortable in my own skin, scars and all.  I admire you! Thank you!

Carol is one for the first people I connected with after my diagnosis and she helped me through a lot of rough times during my surgery and recovery with prayers and words of comfort and strength.  She always seems to find the right words to say at the right time.  She has a wonderful blog, Attitude of Gratitude, and a Facebook page, Melanoma Prayer Center.  She has been known to throw a little "attirude" around and makes us feel comfortable to do the same.  She is a source of comfort and a voice of reason with an amazingly beautiful soul. She is also a pastor of a church and was diagnosed with Stage 3b melanoma.  She is just wonderful and I can't say enough good things about her!  Thank you Carol, for always being right there when I have needed comfort and strength.  I admire how you can juggle so many different things and your words stick with me and get me through the darkest times.  Thank you!

And finally, I want to introduce the first person that I "met" in cyberspace after my diagnosis.  Actually it is a mother/daughter team.  Andrea and Kayleen.  Andrea was diagnosed with stage 1 melanoma and her daughter, Kayleen started a website called  I chatted with Andrea about my upcoming surgery and she told me exactly what to expect.  She was great AND I found out she lives about 2 hours away from me!  Although, we haven't met in person yet, I am going to finally meet her this summer and hopefully Kayleen too!  They make a great team!  Thank you both for being there for me when I was so scared of what was unknown territory and for educating on the dangers of tanning and giving us warriors a place to share our stories with each other.   I appreciate your kindness and can't wait to meet you!

Those are just a few of the amazing people I have befriended on this Mela-road.  They make me so proud every day. I am honored and blessed to have them in my corner fighting this black beast.  Thank you ladies for all that you do!  There are so many more wonderful people doing so much for melanoma awareness, but I will have to tackle more at a later time! 


  1. We are honored to have YOU as our friend! XOXOXO!

  2. Melissa, that's great. I get such comfort talking to all of you! My melanoma was 6 years ago, I'm stage IIB, but they watch me very closely because it was very large and very deep. It's nice to talk about your fears and know that everyone here understands!

    1. I agree, it is nice to have people that really understand what this is like. I am glad you are doing good 6 years after diagnosis! I am one year NED and they don't watch me at all, so I am taking my life into my own hands and getting a second opinion on my slides at the U of M in Ann Arbor Michigan in a couple weeks. I would rather be safe than sorry!