Likewise, long pants protect more skin than shorts. Yet, his presence probably had the greatest impact on me. Not only are our clothes effective in the summer heat, they come in a range of designs that complement your body shape. Two long weeks later, he called me at work to tell me he found cancer cells.
Over a hundred stitches and a metal cap later, the surgery was finally over. To be fair, how could you ever tell someone they had a 2-centimeter-deep hole on the top of their head and explain to them that the hair would never grow back. But, my surgeons said they were hopeful they got it all and at the end of the day, I was lucky this tiny, red spot was caught.
I cannot blame anyone but myself for what I have done by being unprotected all those times in the sun. Sunburn after sunburn, I never learned my lesson. Educate yourself on the dangers of UV exposure. Take time to put on sunscreen or a hat. Check your body whenever you get a chance. His name was Michael. So Michael took control and got it done right then and there. At the time, Ryan was in a paralytic, sedated state, so Michael knew that hanging the mobile was really more for my benefit than for his, so that I could feel like I was doing something to help my very sick son.
That was 22 years ago. When he and Paula got married, we knew that he was managing each new melanoma occurrence with courage and determination. There was never an ounce of self-pity… he just did what needed to be done. He became a dad to two beautiful boys, Jack and Andrew who, along with my sister, were the lights of his life. He was an amazingly loving and involved father, and when he died six years ago, we all lost one of the best people to ever come into our lives and our hearts.
Jack is now 19 and Andrew Jack has been an amazing big brother to Andrew, who has Down Syndrome, and my sister has been an extraordinary mom! Jack and Andrew are gifts that Michael left with us. At a young age, they faced the worst kind of loss, yet they have embraced life and challenges just like their dad did. They inspire me every single day. Both Jack and Andrew are genetically predisposed to developing melanoma, so when Michael lost his battle with this horrible cancer, I became determined to help in some way.
This is what led me to the Melanoma Research Foundation. I took on the role of Auction Chair this year for the first time because I wanted to do more to help with fundraising.
My dear friends here in Summit, Tom and Cathie Westdyk, are dealing with their own personal story with melanoma, as their son, Christopher, was diagnosed with melanoma five years ago at the age of He now is a stage four survivor at the age of Talk about an inspiration! To know that there are so many kind, caring and compassionate people in this world has lifted my spirit and makes me smile every single day.
To close the circle on the beginning of my story, I knew Michael for only about four months when my son, Ryan, died. Yet, his presence probably had the greatest impact on me. My sister loved Ryan as if he was her own and was as broken-hearted as I was when Ryan passed.
Michael, with his strength and love, held onto Paula from that day forward and never let her go. In fact, he held onto all of us in some way. For that and for my nephews, I will always be grateful and will always try to do something that makes a difference. Thankfully, the MRF has given me the opportunity to do it. At Coolibar, we take our mission to heart. True to our mission, we champion skin cancer awareness and prevention, and we encourage everyone to enjoy the outdoors with sun safe practices.
Rigorous 3 rd party UV testing of our fabric samples, adhering to high-quality standards, and working with medical professionals to better understand preventative measures related to UV exposure, are just a few of the ways we strive to be the leaders in the industry. I am very proud to announce Coolibar has been honored by the Melanoma Research Foundation as the recipient of the Corporate Leadership Award.
We humbly share this award with each, and every one of you, for helping us champion our mission every day. Without your stories, passion, and dedication, our mission might be impossible to accomplish. With your help, we know Together We Will change the skin cancer statistics. If you would like to attend the Wings of Hope Gala or learn more ways to support the Melanoma Research Foundation, visit here. The New York Wings of Hope for Melanoma gala started off 17 years ago as a small dinner among friends.
It was an opportunity to bring together a group of people who were passionate about finding a cure for melanoma and recognize a medical expert in the field who would bring us closer to this goal. The physician honoree shared with the group the most recent updates on research and encouraged them to continue their support of the MRF until we have better treatment outcomes for ALL patients.
We honor dedicated clinicians and nurses, courageous patients and caregivers and generous corporate partners that are driving us ever closer to a cure. Together we have a shared vision — hope and a future without melanoma. Moving us towards a cure takes a village of passionate individuals from across the United States.
We hope the more than one million Americans who are impacted by this disease realize that their dollars matter and their voice is heard. Without them, the enduring mission of the MRF would not be possible and we are immensely grateful for the generous and creative ways our community shows their support.
Together, we will cure melanoma. When our son Carter was 11 months old, we found out that he had Oculocutaneous Albinism Type 2. Or OCA2 What that means is that he has less pigment in his eyes, hair, and skin. As parents, hearing that was terrifying, but it also made us want to do whatever we could to keep him especially his skin safe. When we found out about this, we were a month away from going on our first family vacation to the Virgin Islands. We met with a dermatologist who stressed the importance of sun protection.
I immediately began searching for the perfect hat for him to wear. We needed to know that our baby was going to be completely protected. Not only on the beach, but anytime that our family ventured outside. My mother in law was the one who discovered Coolibar , where we found so much more than a hat. We found swimwear and clothing, but most importantly we found a peace of mind. Not only do we have the Albinism to worry about, but our son was also later diagnosed with Autism.
Due to both the Albinism and the Autism, Carter struggles a lot with light sensitivity. Being in the bright sun for too long can really shut him down and cause him to get headaches.
Not only does the bill of the hat help shield his eyes from the sun, but the flap protects his ears and neck from potential burning. Coolibar has taken the pressure off, by providing additional UV protection. Thanks, Coolibar , for allowing us to still have these experiences, worry-free.
Kathryn Dempsey is a board-certified dermatologist who practices in Mobile, Alabama and spends her weekends at Orange Beach. She enjoys teaching about the importance of daily sun protection. Here she has provided some tips on the sneaky ways ultraviolet rays reach us to ensure you stay educated and protected!
And now that you know the sneaky ways that UV rays are reaching you, think about how much you really get — far more than 2 minutes a day. Therefore, it is so important to protect yourself on a day to day basis and this starts with sun protective clothing. If we all did this on a daily basis, I assure you there would be a lot less skin cancer in this world! Trent is a world-recognized dermatologist, who has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 6 chapters in various dermatologic textbooks on surgery and wound care.
Follow these tips and you will be able to enjoy the outdoors without getting a sunburn, which can ruin your summer and your skin.
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