In 10 days I will be walking in the Safe from the Sun Walkathon for Melanoma in Tucson, AZ. I created a team - Pale Skin Is In, of course :) - and I am deeply touched that friends have joined and will be walking beside me and my family.
It has been just over a year since my lung surgery and 6 months since my last melanoma. I am happy to be walking in this event as a cancer free survivor and in honor of those that have lost their battle. I have been battling this beast for 3 years now and so much has changed in my life since. I used to love the sun. I would put some 8 SPF (seriously what was the point) on and lay out baking for hours. It never crossed my mind even once that I may be putting my health or more importantly my life at risk. I now do not go out in the sun without sun protection, either lotion or clothing and I now look for the shade. My daughter Teya also does not go out in the sun without protection. Every morning before school I put lotion on her and I have bought her sun protection clothing. I am going to do what I can to educate her how to be safe while having fun in the sun.
This walk means a lot to me for many reasons, but one is that awareness of melanoma is low. I wasn't really sure what it was when I was originally diagnosed and I was quick to learn that others were as naive as me. I was sadden when my cancer returned that friends of mine still did not understand melanoma to be life threatening. I heard too many "I thought you just had skin cancer" statements. I thought I had educated those close to me, but I realized that I had failed in some cases. Everyone should know the importance of sun safety and getting their skin checked regularly by a dermatologist - not your medical doctor. The money raised by this walk will not only go to much needed research for better treatment, but also to spread the word for prevention and early detection. Melanoma is about 90% curable if caught early, however, there is lack of effective treatment for later stages.
Please let me know if you will be in the Tucson, AZ area or would like to travel down with me to this event. If you cannot join the team, but would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the title of this blog entry or the "My Fundraising Page" link on the top right side of my blog.
If you are reading this via my Facebook feed, you can go to http://www.safefromthesun.org/ and join or donate to my team.
Thanks for your support!