Diagnosis: Stage 2 Melanoma
Date of Diagnosis: January 2004
In January of 2004 my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 20. Since I was 18 I had been visiting tanning booths in an effort to hide my pale complexion and erase all indication of my Irish heritage, so I could “look like everyone else.” Three years later I have come to realize that looking and acting like everyone else is far from what I want to do.
My battle with cancer was one that defined the person I am today and from first hand experience I know what it’s like to struggle with self esteem issues and embarrassment over scarring. My surgery is one that resulted in over 70 stitches, a large disfigurement on my stomach and scars under both arms where 8 lymph nodes needed to be removed to ensure the cancer had not spread inside my body. As a result I want to change how people view scarring and increase awareness about skin cancer. Due to the fact that skin cancer is the most preventable form of cancer I feel that most people don’t consider it an “epidemic.” With tanning salons popping up around every corner, I must disagree.
My mission is to educate and inform young men and women about the dangers of sun exposure and to raise awareness in general about this ever increasing problem.