I am SO proud of my fiance, Kevin (for so many reasons), but today I am proud of him for speaking out against tanning! Yesterday, he was interviewing a lady for a potential job and there was a gap on her resume. He asked her about it and she said she had owned her own tanning business, but that it was closed now. His reply..."Good, I am glad it's closed." She wasn't really expecting that and wasn't really happy about the comment, but he stood his ground.
The lady tried to defend tanning and "educate" him on the good things about tanning. He told her to STOP, then proceeded to educate HER on the dangers of tanning. He said he got really upset and thought about what I have gone through and what my friends have gone though. He has been through it all with me. He has been helpless to help me with the fear and turmoil that I have gone through since I was diagnosed with melanoma. He told her why he was glad calmly, sternly, and with raw emotion. She didn't have any ground to stand on, even though she threw out the Vitamin D and seasonal effective disorder (SAD) cards. He still didn't back down. It made him feel good to say what he did, to stand his ground. He
probably didn't realize how much info he has picked up just from me. He
has been a huge support through out my entire journey with melanoma.
He is on the other side of it. He is going through it, but doesn't
physically have it. He has his own emotions and experiences with it.
It has changed him to.
He proceeded to complete the interview like the professional he is. He didn't end up hiring her (for other reasons), but said he was glad he spoke up too, even though the person that was with interviewing with him wasn't happy that he spoke up SO much!
Can you say PROUD? It was the best gift I could have received. Better than flowers, better than candy or dinner, better than anything! He stood up and defended me and all my friends and our cause. I have to say that I love it when I hear about my friends, and family, stand up and educate! My 17 year old daughter, my sister, my young nieces, and my friends have also heard me and have shared the awareness too. They get it. They care. And it validates what I feel. It gives my journey and fight more purpose. It makes me feel that I am NOT alone. There are so many people that think I am weird for not loving the sun and for speaking out against tanning. They think a tan means you're healthy. They think skin cancer is JUST a simple spot removal. They look at me funny because I am anti-tan. They just don't get it. They are afraid to be too pale. Why are people so afraid of being pale? I have to say that for the most part, we are seeing a lot more celebrities rocking their natural skin tones, which is awesome! The Oscars had the most beautiful actresses rocking their own skin tones. They looked very healthy and had a glow too and it wasn't orange! I hope it spreads. I hope that people start to realize how silly they look with a sunburn or a bad spray tan. Maybe someday soon, people will mark the change from tan is cool to pale is beautiful by saying, "Anne Hathaway showed up to the Oscars pale and people thought it was beautiful and stopped tanning.", the way they do about Coco Chanel showing up tan after vacation and then everyone wanted a tan as the start of the tanning craze. I am so sick of hearing about Coco Chanel...
For the record, I am glad that lady's salon closed too. I would love to see them ALL close. I realize those people are trying to make a living, but I don't agree with how they are doing it. It is really hard to convince people to stop doing something that they want to do like smoking, drinking, or tanning. But, we need to keep trying. I haven't always had the guts to tell someone to their face that they need to stop tanning. Mostly because I don't want to be the lady that everyone stays away from, that is a party pooper. You know a busy-body? Not what I want to be know for,but I would not mind being know for fighting melanoma. I do think that if my Kevin can stand up and say what he feels, I can too. I am sure that lady was shocked to hear him say what he did about her former business, (in a job interview!) but we need to let people know how we feel and not keep quiet. We need to keep fighting melanoma. I told Kevin how proud I was of him and I told him I know that Briana was proud of him too. (And probably laughing because he had the guts to say what he did!)
So, in honor of my wonderful man, I have created the Stand Up To Melanoma Challenge. I challenge you to stand up and educate someone, even though you may not normally speak up. I am challenging you to do something to educate, make a video, write your state reps, talk to a school, make a poster, talk to a teen that is obviously tan, or tell someone they have a funny mole on their back. SPEAK UP. The chances that they listen to you are going up with all the new cases of melanoma every day. The chances that they may know or end up knowing someone that has melanoma, and hopefully with your educating it won't be them. Maybe you will be that one person that changes their life.
I will be accepting this challenge too. I will not be so quiet about it in public as I have been. I don't want any of you to do anything rude, or dangerous. We will get our point across much better by remaining calm and cool, stating facts and if they don't want to hear it, move on. They will be more responsive if you aren't in their face yelling. I know we are all passionate about raising awareness and everything and we all have a lot of emotions running crazy, but let's do it the right way, even if someone makes you angry. Just know that you have planted a seed. They will think about it when they lay out or use a tanning bed. We WILL change the world's way of thinking someday. In the meantime, it will take a lot of work. We can do it. I am doing it for my family and for my friends and myself. I am doing it for YOU.
I would love to hear your stories of educating! Please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you follow me on Facebook at My Journey with Melanoma and look under NOTES and add your story in a comment.
If anyone needs statistics to share when educating, go to either the Melanoma Research Foundation or Aim at Melanoma. There is a lot of good information on these sites.
I would like to say a special thank you to Kevin for always being my support and my best friend through all of this. You did something so amazing and I love you so much for it! Thank you XOXO. I would also like to dedicate this challenge to all of the caregivers out there that would also like their voices to be heard!
Happy Educating! Go spread the lotion and save some lives!