Danielle's story

Last summer I was enjoying my life as a barely 28 year old healthy mother of two, a newborn and a 2 year old. I noticed a small spot on the back of my arm that was the size of a freckle, was flat, nothing that you would think would be concerning. But it was to me, I knew my body and I knew that was not there previously and it just felt off to me. I made an appointment with a dermatologist for the first time in my life, thinking it would be a simple visit. Little did I know that that tiny spot I almost ignored was melanoma? I was healthy, young, in shape, a new mom, and I had cancer. As a teenager and college student I went in a lot of tanning beds, at that time I didn’t think about the consequences. It wasn’t something that was really talked about, everyone knew skin cancer could happen but as a teen no one thinks "that will happen to me." But it did. I had never been so terrified in my life. In those 10 days that I had to wait for the test results to find out if it had spread or not I felt lost, terrified, I cried a lot. I didn’t think I was going to be around to see my boys to go school. All for some superficial thing like tanning. I was fortunate enough to catch it early, it hadn’t spread yet. I will never be the same, I keep such a close eye on my body and I have to do that for the rest of my life. I now strive to make people in my life understand how extremely important it is to take precautions like using sunscreen, staying out of tanning beds, being smart. I protect my children. I would rather be fair skinned and alive than tanned and the alternative. 

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