Thankful for the Chance to Spread an Important Message

Nov 22, 2011 2 Comments by

Duane Braswell is a recent skin cancer survivor whom is thankful for many things this holiday season. After being diagnosed with both basal cell carcinoma and melanoma in August 2011 and having his cancer cells successfully excised, he came to the conclusion that there is not enough awareness around the dangers of skin cancer. With the support of his family, friends and outside donors, Duane has arranged to complete a 2,500 mile bike circuit starting in Phoenix, AZ and ending in Washington, DC to raise awareness and money for skin cancer research.

Duane’s story:

I was diagnosed in August 2011 with several basal cell carcinoma cancers and melanoma. What a shock to hear the word “cancer” and your name in the same sentence! This is something everyone knows can happen, but we never expect it will happen to us.

Prior to the cancer I only wore a hat and sunscreen if I remembered or thought I would be outside for an extended period of time. When we were  kids, we just dealt with sunburns and didn’t think twice about it. After all of the cancerous cells were cut out in mid-October, I now wear my hat almost everywhere I go – plus it looks good anyway!

The biggest hit was realizing that even though I made my family a priority over my career, I still did not realize how fragile life is and how precious my time with my family is. The hardest thing was looking at my kids and thinking I might not be there for their children or even my youngest child’s graduation. I had never considered these things before my diagnosis, when I was ignoring my mole and ‘spots.’

Now, I am looking forward to spending five weeks with my son going cross country and showing him how great people are to visit and talk with. We leave May 13, 2012 from Phoenix and will arrive in Washington DC at the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) center by the end of June. We will be traveling 2,500 miles; enjoying our time together and sharing with others the importance of covering up in the sun and wearing a hat. We hope to raise $10,000 for the MRF through exposure on TV, radio as well as the internet. Both my son and I want to hear someone went and got checked for skin cancer because we talked to them.

After the ‘cancer’ scare, my oldest daughter had two moles removed when visiting the dermatologist. She told me it would be foolish to miss out on life because of something so small. Hers moles were VERY early and required no stitches. Mine were nearly too late and required over 60 stitches that we could count. It is so easy to prevent skin cancer, and so costly if we do not.

- Duane Braswell

P.S. My doctor recommended your products to me and I really love them.

Check back in May for a trip update!

Duane posing in his Coolibar gear with the bike that will be accompanying him on a 2,500 mile ride to raise funds for melanoma research

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2 Responses to “Thankful for the Chance to Spread an Important Message”

  1. Fran says:

    What a bueatiful, honest and breathtaking piece. I appreciate your sharing this with the world. It gives me strength to hear your voice and see these amazing images as I live with family, friends and, yes, even beloved pets battling cancer. Thank you.

  2. Matheus says:

    Non melanoma skin carnecs (basal and squamous cell) are much more common than melanomas. . nlm. nih. gov/medlineplus/skincancer. htmlThat is not to say that melanomas are not also rather common. Here are some melanoma photos and info to check out. A melanoma doesn’t have to be nearly as large as those in these photos since they usually use large examples for online photos. . cancer. gov/cancertopics/types/melanoma. dermatology. org/molemelanoma/watch2. html. ukonline. co. uk/ruth. livingstone/little/melanoma. htmWith melanomas there are three things that determine cure rate how big, how deep and how soon you get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment. If you have any thoughts that a mole might not look right then you need to see a dermatologist immediately for a check up.

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