Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Ties that Bind

Many people know that it was my beloved mother who first inspired me to work with the cancer community. (I lost her to cancer when I was a teenager) Many people also know that my dear friend, and co-founder, Natalie Johnson-Hatch is another source of inspiration for me. Natalie lost her 21-year-old brother to melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. Upon learning of this and realizing that skin cancer is 90-95% preventable (unlike breast cancer which claimed my mother), I have since been an enthusiastic skin cancer prevention education advocate!

Recently, when doing some genealogy work, I discovered that my Great Grandpa Drake (my mother’s grandfather) died of melanoma.

Now, I realize why I have felt so prompted to be involved with skin cancer prevention. While it first began as a sincere desire to help my dear friend Natalie achieve her dream of a universally accepted Skin Cancer Awareness ribbon, and then grew into a passion for spreading a message of hope—skin cancer is an unnecessary epidemic; it is the spirit of those who have gone before who are sending their love and support, and who are, along with Heavenly Father, guiding me along the path. I just never knew that one of those melanoma warriors was my own flesh-and-blood; my Great Grandpa “Gramps” Drake who died the year I was born.

In honor of him (and his wife); in honor of all those touched by this deadly yet very preventable disease—

I shall continue to fight the good fight.


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