We’ve done it! Our Spring 2021 catalog is here and it’s our first ever to feature real-world people who are tackling skin cancer every day—they are warriors! In the past, we’ve been honored to include well-known warriors like Norah O’Donnell and Holly Rowe, as well as amazing professional models who have survived skin cancer, like Bradly Tomberlin. But this is the first time you’ll see everyday people within the greater skin cancer community represented throughout our catalog pages.
It all started with a basic idea – celebrate skin cancer warriors and inspire others to dress sun-safe. But as is the case with most of our community outreach, it quickly evolved into something more. Every one of our real-world models lit up the camera with their hope, energy and passion for our shared mission. And their willingness to share their stories and support each other was just incredible!
Each individual who participated in our Spring 2021 catalog has written a blog detailing their unique experience with skin cancer. We have stories from warriors and the people supporting them…professionals, advocates, and caregivers. Everyone came together to help our first warrior-dedicated catalog shine. Based on our past experience, we were not surprised in the least. If our mission has taught us one thing, it is that skin cancer warriors and advocates can move mountains. And if you spend enough time in their presence, you’ll realize that you can too.
In our Spring 2021 catalog you will find….
Warriors currently taking on skin cancer or living with other sun-sensitivities
Survivors who are NED (No Evidence of Disease) or in remission
Care givers supporting family or friends going through a diagnosis
Advocates leading the charge to protect and prevent
Medical Providers dedicating their time to keeping everyone safe
As you flip the pages of the catalog and go online and read their stories, we hope you’ll be as inspired as we were. And we welcome your help! If you, your family, or friends are interested in participating in our next catalog or blog please don’t hesitate to reach out. Every story, and every warrior makes a difference.
We are BEYOND grateful for our community’s involvement in our mission and everyone’s ongoing efforts to combat skin cancer. Every day we’re dedicated to keeping yours safe.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has checked my skin for new or changed spots, even into adulthood she still will look at my arms or neck and check for changes. She found my very first ‘spot’ in a dressing room while I was trying on new school clothes for my 3rd grade year. It was a dark black mole on my shoulder that had suddenly popped up overnight it seemed. The doctor removed it months later. Thankfully, it was only an atypical mole with no sign of cancer.
In 2003, when my mother mentioned that she did not like a mole I had on my jaw/neck area, I brushed it off with, “it’s fine, mom. No, mom, it hasn’t changed”. At the time, I was a 31-year-old mother with an 18-month-old toddler and an elementary school-aged son. My husband was in the military and we had just moved to a new town, so I did not have time to go to the doctor and investigate a mole that was probably nothing.
Then, I found the photograph that changed everything. I was looking through a box of old photos and came across an image of me laughing with my head cocked back to the side. It wasn’t a great photo but for some reason it caught my attention. I looked at the side of my face and neck. There was no mole. I flipped the photo over and looked for the date. It taken was about 2 years prior. It seemed strange that the mole had grown so large in such a short amount of time. Perhaps my mom was right to be concerned.
I made an appointment with my doctor who sent me to a dermatologist to have it removed. I remember when he called to give me the results. I thought it was odd that he was calling me. No one ever called with results. Everything was always fine. He used the word melanoma and began talking about a referral to a MOHS office for another surgery. I recall telling my parents and my husband that it was no big deal. I had my second surgery and clean margins, then I’d have skin checks every 3 months for a year, followed by every 6 months for a year. I could do that. No big deal. It’s fine. Everything is fine.
I really believed that. I really thought it was all fine. And then—I saw the Grey’s Anatomy episode about Izzy being diagnosed with melanoma and a metastasis. Wait…this can kill me? An older woman at my church had a spot on her foot that wasn’t healing. She had surgery, it was melanoma that had metastasized and she died six months later. My dad was diagnosed with melanoma a year after me and had to have a lymph node removed. I was learning that everything was definitely NOT fine. This was and is a big deal.
This realization absolutely changed things for me. Like my mother, my drive to protect my children from skin cancer became much more important. We already knew that sunscreen was an important part of going outside, but now it was vital. I also started being aware of what time of day we should avoid being outside. We lived near the beach, so I became an early morning or evening beachgoer and always used an umbrella. When watching my kids play sports, I found shade or made my own. As my children grew, they knew that a sunburn was something they had to avoid. I expected them to take sun safety seriously. After all, their grandpa and their mom both had melanoma.
Most recently I’ve learned a lot more about sun-protective clothing through Polka Dot Mama and Coolibar. Anything I can add to my family’s routine to help keep them safe really helps me feel like they’re safe out in the sun.
What I want everyone else to learn from my story is to take it seriously! Never think that skin cancer is ‘no big deal’. Be diligent about your skin and listen to your friends, family, or even a stranger in the coffee line if they think something doesn’t look right. In my case my mother was always looking out for me and she hounded my dad about the mole on his arm which ended up being melanoma. Her skin checks likely saved our lives.
My other advice is to take care of yourself. I was a busy mom and I made the excuse that I didn’t have time to take care of myself. This is SO common in mothers. But please remember that you are always worth the care you give yourself—especially when it comes to your health. Early detection really can save your life when it comes to melanoma. Since my initial diagnosis, I have met so many other melanoma survivors. The one survivor that has inspired me the most is my friend, Tracy Callahan, of the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation. Her story is so different from mine, yet we have so much in common. She has taught me more about melanoma than anyone—how to live a full life with the diagnosis and how to make a difference in the world because of it. Education and information are key components to helping people recognize the need for sun safety and how to take care of their skin. Tracy does an amazing job both educating and providing free skin screenings. She is a living embodiment of taking a challenging personal journey and using it to positively impact the lives of others.
Joanne P. McCallie is known by most for the 28 years she spent as a head woman’s college basketball coach. In that time, she celebrated 646 wins, 22 seasons with over 20 wins, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, and eight conference championships. Most recently, she was the head coach at Duke University and helped the Blue Devils to a 330-107 overall record and earned ACC Coach of the Year in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
While her achievements as ‘Coach P’ will live on the walls of Universities for decades to come, her legacy will also be that of a Melanoma Warrior. She was first diagnosed with Melanoma in 2007 when a spot was removed from her forehead. With this diagnosis she began to further understand and respect the need for a sun-safe lifestyle and started advocating for this amongst her friends, family, colleagues, and her athletes.
Then in 2016 she had a second, more serious diagnosis which resulted in 26 surgical stitches on her back where doctors had removed malignant cells with melanoma. That same year more cells were removed from the right side of her neck. As her early scars had finally started to fade, new ones emerged.
Like many people who share their stories in the hopes of saving lives, Joanne crossed paths with numerous other warriors over the years. Including her athletes, some of whom had experienced skin cancer in their families, and even lost immediate family. As a coach, she had always understood the power and importance of a player’s ‘mental game’. But the mental health of patients, survivors, family was an entirely different mental battle.
She recently released her latest book “Secret Warrior: A Coach and Fighter On and Off the Court”. It’s a memoir of the mental health journey she’s taken through all parts of her life. From the realities and challenges of the sports world, to navigating her personal health and battles with cancer and bipolar disorder. Her recurring theme is this:
FAITH OVER FEAR
Her aim with this book is to reduce the stigma associated with impaired mental health and encourage those suffering from mental health issues to reach out for help. Mental health is a vital part of everyone’s success, but it’s not something that is easy to navigate and manage along. In the book, she offers real direction, experiences and personal stories to teach and reassure those working through the dynamics of their mental and physical health.
“The only way we can be our best selves is to prioritize the health and strength of our minds,” says Joanne.
Joanne’s faith and authenticity have led to many meaningful connections along her journey. One of the most impactful is her friendship with Tracy Callahan of Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation. Together they created Melanoma Awareness Games with Duke University as a way to increase awareness and conduct as many free skin cancer screenings as possible. Protection and early detection make all the difference, and Coach P and Tracy Callahan continue to work together to promote sun-safe habits and get people to the dermatologist! Most recently she volunteered her time for a Coolibar Warrior Photoshoot. All proceeds went to the Polka Dot Mama Foundation!
As she moves away from her coaching career Joanne plans to devote more time to mental health awareness, through her book and directly. As someone who dedicates a lot of their energy to helping and supporting others, we’re grateful for all she does.
Part of me wasn’t surprised when the biopsy results came back positive. Of the three bumps I felt on my scalp and had checked, one was squamous cell carcinoma. When I got the diagnosis, I thought about all the things I loved to do outside in the sun. I loved to spend long weekends hiking in New York’s Hudson Valley. I went jogging and cycling multiple times a week, and I spent summers at the beach. My most memorable travels were always outdoor adventures, like hiking the Path of the Gods in Amalfi, Italy, the Grand Canyon, and the Torres del Paine in Patagonia. I even had an outdoor wedding!
I had always thought I was pretty good about applying sunblock (usually SPF 30) to protect my skin. What I realize now is that I have been completely ignoring my scalp. It makes me angry thinking about it. It all makes sense now. My hair has always been cut short—and it’s not particularly thick—which leaves my crown completely vulnerable to sun damage.
I’m not sure I consider myself to be a “Skin Cancer Warrior” per se, but I’ll admit to wanting to ‘attack’ this problem head-on. The good news in my diagnosis was that my cancer was considered ‘In situ’, meaning we caught it early enough. Regardless, I didn’t want to waste any time so I quickly scheduled my MOHS surgery with Dr. Vinelli in Morristown, NJ for June 9th, 2020 one month after the biopsy results.
The first thing I remember about that day was my conversation with the doctor. He told me that I had great skin for my age (50 at the time), but my scalp looked like “the skin of a 75-year-old”. Food for thought…
I sat and made small talk with the surgery staff as they clipped the hair off my crown. Then a large section of my scalp was shaved with a straight razor. I nervously joked about looking like a monk, and not leaving the house until my hair grew back. Then a sheath was draped over the sides of my head and face.
The surgery was done under local anesthetic, but I could hear snipping, scraping, and feel the dabbing of gauze and tugging of the skin while it was being sewn closed. I wondered what the site would look like when the surgery was done and thought about all the types of hats I would buy to cover the scar. The more tugging I felt, the tighter the skin on my head and face felt. It was a strange sensation…Was I inadvertently getting a facelift?
Then it was over. I was prescribed pain killers and an antibiotic cream and was told to remove the bandage the next morning. Additionally, I couldn’t exercise for at least two weeks and needed to avoid all strenuous activity. Hmm.
The next morning, my husband helped me remove the bandage and the look on his face said it all. We both had underestimated the amount of damage I had, and size of the incision needed to get it all.
Over the following months and with 2020 being what it was, I continued working from home while I healed. I took Zoom meetings and would carefully position the camera to be sure my coworkers couldn’t see the scar.
Eventually, I let my head tilt just enough and my boss saw the scar (and ‘monk cut’) and asked me what happened. As it turned out, he also had MOHS surgery on the bridge of his nose. We compared notes and lamented, saying things like, “If we could only go back and do things differently”.
We talked about how we were dealing with our diagnosis. He’d started staying out of the sun entirely while I was hiding under hats. He doesn’t go to the beach anymore and I’ve started sitting under umbrellas and wearing sun shirts. We each have different approaches to how we’re handling our brush with skin cancer. Both of us are fully aware that we’re even more susceptible to more damage. I think the most important thing is that we have both changed our habits and are in a position to help others.
As ‘skin cancer warriors’ we can tell people what happened. Not to scare them—or gross them out. But we get to share our stories with one another, and with everyone around us because this experience is entirely preventable. If we can teach people to protect their scalp, shield their faces, wear sunblock and sun-protective clothing, fewer and fewer people will experience this cancer. For that I’m grateful.
Educating people about skin cancer and skin cancer prevention is something I’m extremely passionate about. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. This is a frightening statistic, but the good news is that 99 percent of all cases are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early enough. This is where education and screening can really make a difference.
Another way I try to make a difference in lowering future statistics is by encouraging people to instill sun safety habits in their children. Sun damage in childhood is one of the most significant causes of skin cancer in adults. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Here are some sun safety tips I use with my own children:
Keep the sunscreen right next to the toothpaste. Make it part of their daily routine!
Utilize a mineral powder sunscreen for easy-to-use application
Wear shirts, hats, and other clothing with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) 50+ label for built-in sun protection during outside activities
Incorporate fun UPF 50+ umbrellas or tents during sporting events
As a busy dermatologist and working mother of four young children, I realize how challenging it can be to make sure your children are protected, especially when you are not with them. This is why I feel so strongly about developing sun safety behaviors in children. A sunburn does not have to be a rite of childhood! Building healthy habits early when children are more receptive can lead to increased sun protection into adulthood.
I was diagnosed with melanoma on my right arm at 26 years old. At the time, I was about to graduate as a Physician Assistant. I couldn’t believe it! As I was leaving my appointment, I pulled over the car and cried. I was about to start a career in medicine and I was getting married! How did I get skin cancer? I was terrified.
Luckily, my melanoma was superficial, Stage 1, so it could be surgically removed without significant damage or scaring. I knew it could have been worse. Much worse. Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30-35. I was 26, and about to be a licensed medical professional and I was a part of a cancer statistic.
The one thing that saved me was my knowledge of medicine. I knew enough to go in and get a skin check when I noticed something was off. Early detection makes a big difference in someone’s diagnosis. Finding out at 26 that I had cancer also helped me reevaluate my relationship with the sun. I was born and raised in sunny Florida and loved being outside and sunbathing by the pool when I was younger. I rarely used sunblock because I tanned easily and therefore assumed I wasn’t susceptible to skin cancer.
It took my diagnosis and surgery to finally change my sun habits. It happened immediately. I started investing in sun protective clothing. I kept accessories like hats, sunglasses and umbrellas with me so I’d never be without shade or protection. I started wearing an SPF of at least 30 on my face and lips daily. I stopped all tanning right away, no tanning beds or sunbathing. And I do my best to avoid sun exposure between 10am – 2pm.
After my diagnosis, I also started working as a Dermatology PA. It is my job to educate, evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with skin cancer. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to empathize and understand what my patients are going through. Getting a cancer diagnosis is hard. I’ve been there! But thanks to that diagnosis I’m able to help and support others.
For some it can seem daunting to kick off a sun-safe lifestyle. But, there are small but significant things you can seamlessly weave into your daily routine.
Keep a hat, umbrella and UPF 50+ elbow-length gloves in your car so you can grab extra protection when you need it.
Switch out your lotions and chapsticks to make sure they have an SPF of 30+
STOP tanning, whether it’s in a salon or at the beach. Just stop! Embrace your natural skin tone! Porcelain is pretty!
Get yourself some quality sun protective clothing for sunny days. It’s made to block UVA/UVB rays while keeping you cooler out in the sun.
In addition to helping avoid skin cancer, all of these steps will help prevent early aging in your skin. If you ask any medical provider in a dermatology clinic what their #1 secret is to beautiful, healthy skin, we would say sun protection!
At the age of 38, Tracy Callahan received a phone call that would change her life. It was her dermatologist calling with good news. She had melanoma, but they caught it early. Her obvious first question, ‘How is this good news?’. As a nurse, and a mother of two young boys, Tracy’s life as she knew it had changed.
Over the next three years, Tracy would receive that same phone call another three times. It never got easier, but she eventually came to realize that ‘catching it early’ was indeed good news. When caught early, the survival rate for melanoma is 92%*. She is reminded daily that she continues to be one of the lucky ones.
After Tracy received her third diagnosis, she decided to do something. Inspired by the name ‘Polka Dot Mama’, given to her by her two boys after numerous wide excision surgeries and biopsies, Tracy started a blog and began to network with survivors and skin cancer organizations across the country.
“The more educated I became, the more I wanted to educate others. Unlike so many other cancers, scientists have actually figured out the secret to avoiding most types of melanomas—protect yourself from the sun and avoid tanning beds. But as simple as it sounds, I discovered that people have so many misconceptions about melanoma.”
A few months later, Tracy’s simple blog quickly morphed into an idea for a non-profit organization that could fund research, raise awareness and promote the early detection of melanoma. In September of 2015, she officially founded the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation, a federally granted 501(C)(3) non-profit, and appointed a board of directors.
In its inaugural year, with the help of many incredible supporters and volunteers, the organization was able to fund-raise over $70,000. More than half of that money was donated specifically towards melanoma research. In 2018, the foundation increased that amount and raised over $500,000. It began focusing on education and awareness efforts with projects like the Shade Shuttle and free skin cancer screenings.
In 2019, Polka Dot Mama set a new Guinness Book of World Record for the most skin cancer screenings—32 dermatologists and over 150 volunteers worked together to screen 963 patients over the course of 7 hours! The team of volunteers reached people of all ages, races and socioeconomic status. They even had a dedicated team for Spanish speaking patients. In the last two years, Polka Dot Mama has helped screen over 1,500 patients and identified some form of skin cancer in about 15-20% of those patients. Although this statistic is scary, it has reinforced the need to keep providing as many free skin screenings as possible.
“You never want to identify melanoma in the patients you see; but knowing that our efforts are saving lives is what keeps me motivated”.
For those who have connected with the amazing team at the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation, they know that their community is at the heart of what they do. They take pride in being a grassroots organization with a national reach—including an appearance on the Today Show with Al Roker! The organization is passionate about coming together for one common goal—the prevention and detection of melanoma. And Tracy and her story are at the center of this. Everything Tracy has experienced helps her live each day with a grateful heart. She often says, “If I can make a difference in someone’s life by sharing my journey, then these scars will be given purpose”.
“We’re going to keep stepping up and doing our part to prevent skin cancer through early detection. When it comes to making a difference, it’s all about showing up.”
I went to the beach with my children for a summer holiday in 2018. When we returned home, I noticed a bump near my nose. My first thought was, “A pimple? At this age? I better ramp up my face care routine”. After a week of scrubbing, and trying other blemish remedies, the bump was still there. It was time to see a dermatologist.
The ensuing (my first ever) appointment with a dermatologist changed my life. She started out by asking some background questions.
Doctor: What’s your personal skin history?
Me: Fair skinned guy that grew up in Florida during the 80’s.
Doctor: What was your SPF use while growing up?
Me: Cocoa butter and tanning oil.
Doctor: What is your family skin history.
Me: Older brother with multiple skin cancers including melanoma.
Doctor: Arches her eyebrow and responds… Let’s take a look.
Thirty seconds later…
Doctor: You have skin cancer.
I remember thinking, “Wow, she gets right to it”. But then my years of military training kicked in and my thoughts switched to, “OK, how do we take care of this?” She walked me through my options:
Measure it and see if it grows
Biopsy it and find out what it is
I asked, “How is number 1 even an option?” Apparently, it’s not, but they’ve gotten feedback that people liked to have options for treatment, so they added number 1. I had the sense to choose to cut it off.
When the pathology report came back, I was stunned. I had malignant cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Years later, I’ve learned that there are much more severe and aggressive types of cancer that are more difficult to treat. But in that moment, I was terrified. I had cancer. There is a common theme in conversations I’ve had with others about their own cancer experiences: the moment when you learn you have cancer is as significant an emotional event as you will ever have.
So what now? I lived in the DC area, so I was sent to Walter Reed Medical Center to undergo MOHS surgery to remove the cancer. The fantastic team there got all of it. It was the most amazing news I think I’ve ever heard. And just like that, my cancer story shifted from that of a patient to a survivor.
My cancer story is a positive one. I know full well it could have been far worse, but I had paid attention to changes in my skin and I had access to health care. Those two things made all the difference. I began to wonder about those that aren’t aware of the importance of prevention and self-exams, and who don’t have access to health care. Having survived skin cancer because of early detection, I set out to find a way to do something about it.
The fact that really caught my attention was this…
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America, but it is also the most treatable, with early detection.
Awesome…then why don’t we just detect it early for heaven’s sake? If the cure for skin cancer is to find it early, then why do we do vision checks every year but not skin checks? Why is a skin screening a C priority in peoples’ lives, instead of an A priority? I knew there had to be a way to get educated eyes looking at more people’s skin. I had a conversation with an artist friend that helped me switch the lights on and find an answer.
I had approached Pat McGee, a singer/songwriter/friend of more than 20 years, about playing a one-year cancer free show for me and some friends. Our initial conversation was pretty…real.
Me: What do you think Pat?
Pat: I think it sounds remarkably self-indulgent.
Me: What if we raised money at the show and gave it to a charity.
Pat: Getting better.
A friend in the medical philanthropy world jumped in with the idea of doing multiple concerts to raise money. LIGHT BULB! The three of us outlined a plan for an organization that would focus on skin cancer awareness AND would get people started by giving them much-needed free screenings. We Rock Cancer was born.
That one-year cancer free concert morphed into a We Rock Cancer launch event where half the attendees opted to be screened, and half of those that were screened had issues identified that required a dermatologist follow up or biopsy. We were amazed. We had found a way to enable early detection and provide people with the information they needed to take action in a timely manner. All while they were attending a rock concert. At the end of the event, one of our volunteer dermatologists observed:
“You guys have found a way to make skin cancer screenings cool!”
Since that night, a team of amazing volunteers has come together to grow our mission capability and our reach. We immediately identified a mission goal to conduct free screenings for those that work in sun-intense occupations—landscapers, construction workers, lifeguards, golf course workers, etc. We also started an outreach program to provide screenings focused on musicians and those in the music industry. The artists and techs that are the key to our public engagement often have extremely limited access to health care.
We also started a Youth Ambassador Program, so that we could help students and young adults be the messengers of sun safety in their school and athletic team environments. We provide them with information and checklists to identify opportunities to improve sun safety and to work with organization leaders to make improvements. Getting this information to young people at an age when they are first making decisions on their own regarding sun safety is essential to successfully prevent future skin cancers.
What’s next? We are gratified that our message is resonating with those that realize spending a few dollars on prevention and early detection is the key to avoiding the dangers and expenses that come with skin cancer. We’re going to keep stepping up and doing our part to prevent skin cancer through early detection. When it comes to making a difference, it’s all about showing up. We’re grateful that our efforts garnered the attention of Coolibar. We’re in this mission together and are so grateful that they continue to show up for non-profits like us. We look forward to sharing their support with our community!
New year, new you. It’s a phrase we are all very familiar with and tell ourselves every 12 months. In a recent study, they found that approximately 80% of resolutions fail by February.
The secret to successful resolutions is keeping them realistic and attainable in a way that you feel progress from the start. Go for the win by focusing on things that give you emotional satisfaction as well as outward results. So, here are 6 little things you can easily do to feel good and realign goals you’ve been carrying for the last few days, weeks or perhaps even years. But, this year is different because it is YOUR year.
1. Get Outside
Almost every year, it seems like people sign up for a new spin class or a personal trainer at their local gym. They dedicate themselves to it for two months and burn out. Don’t worry about joining a club, just get outside. It can be as simple as going on a 30-minute walk before you start your day to going on a quick bike ride around the neighborhood in the afternoon. The fresh air will recharge you! Don’t sacrifice your skin though. Keep sun-safe and cool in a hat and UPF 50+ clothes made for fitness, like those that have cooling technology built in.
2. Sign Up for a Lesson or Class
Never too old to learn a few new tricks! An always popular choice is taking up golf or tennis. Just make sure to cover up for all that added sun exposure! Other ideas could be learning a new language or picking up a new computer skill. You’ll never regret owning an abundance of diverse skills later in life.
3. Rekindle Important Relationships
Life gets crazy. It’s inevitable. But NEVER lose sight of, or become too busy for, your friends and family. Make one phone call a week with a distant friend; simply inviting family over once a month for dinner (delivered if you’re not into cooking); that’s all it takes. once a week, to simply inviting family over once a month for dinner, that’s all it takes, and it goes a very long way. At the end of the day, the relationships we have are more valuable than anything imaginable.
4. Take Care of Your Skin
This is one we are really challenging you to this upcoming year. How often are you consciously thinking about the amount of sun exposure you are receiving every day? Whether you are in the car or at work, there are so many sneaky ways that we are exposing ourselves to UV rays! A good habit to start as soon as possible is applying a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 daily. Afraid of needing to reapply or having an oily feel to your skin? Choose UPF 50+ clothing that blocks out 98% of UV rays and never washes out!
5. Indulge Once a Week
A classic resolution, like dieting, can be extremely tricky, hence the reason it is a reoccurring challenge. One of the secrets is balance and easing into it. Start by dedicating 5 days a week of healthier food choices and then rewarding yourself with a cheat meal. If you become too obsessed with it right away you will become miserable, and nobody wants to associate food with misery. If you are struggling with figuring out where to start, here’s a great beginners guide to understanding food.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Be good to yourself. Do nice things for yourself. Reward yourself for all your hard work. We can get so caught up in our jobs or daily chores and forget to take care of ourselves. Need a spa day? Have it. You’ve been looking at that new bike for a while? Get it. That tropical vacation you’ve had your eye on? Book it. Try and do one thing completely for yourself at least once a week.
New Year’s is an end and a beginning. It allows you to turn the page and focus on the new goals you’ve just created for yourself. But remember, all of this depends on you and how ready you are to commit. Make the most of 2020. We are all rooting for you!
At Coolibar, our mission is everything. It’s the essence of our DNA, which is why we partner with organizations working hard to save lives like the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). In addition to raising funding for life-saving research and science, their dedication to patients and caregivers is absolutely incredible. The endless, first-hand testimonials we’ve gotten say it all…
“When I needed answers and had no idea where to start, the MRF was there.”
“We’re so grateful for the support the MRF has given our family.”
“The MRF saved my life.”
This is why we became the Official Apparel Partner of the MRF in 2020. While their team works to fund life-saving research, treatments and education, we can help by protecting everyone under the sun with UPF 50+ clothing. In 2020 alone, we’ve gifted thousands of shirts to virtual Miles for Melanoma participants, outfitted every wonderful kiddo at the 2020 Pediatric Melanoma Summit, offered up raffle items to raise funds at Virtual Galas and sent care packages to patients and families needing more support this year. It’s an incredible partnership that truly puts people first.
2020 also marked the third year of This is Brave, our annual T-shirt fundraiser for the MRF. It all began when a young girl here in Minnesota stepped up and reminded us all of the importance of advocating for and supporting individuals with skin cancer. When Quinn told her brother Graham to Be Brave while battling pediatric melanoma, she was reminding us all that we can do this! We can battle through and no matter what the outcome might be, we’re better when we can Be Brave together.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime whether there is a pandemic or not. #CancerHasNoCurve. The good news is the MRF and the greater melanoma community continue to be strong and active. Patients and advocates have done everything from taking the message of prevention and protection cross-country, to telling a neighbor to care for their skin and get checked. You are amazing. Everything you’re doing counts!
We’re taking some time out this November to remind everyone of the important work of the Melanoma Research Foundation, and to continue to help them fundraise and support their community. 2020 has been a year full of …surprises. But cancer does not take a break, and neither will the MRF.
If you’re able, we’re asking you to support skin cancer awareness and the MRF. Here is how you can help:
Read the awe-inspiring stories of our Brave warriors and share them with your friends and family. Awareness can save lives!
Learn more about the MRF and the work it does to save lives.
Consider donating to the MRF. They’ve created wonderful virtual programs to ensure that the funding for research and education remains strong.
Purchase a 2020 This is Brave UPF 50+ T-Shirt or our Limited Edition Be Brave Umbrella for yourself or send it to someone as a sun-safe gift that gives. The proceeds go directly to the MRF.
Thank you for all that you do and remember…together we can BE BRAVE!