In 2004 my mother, Teri, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma. She was told she had 6 months to live. I still remember the day she sat me down to tell me like it was yesterday. At that moment my life changed forever. I was only 16 years old, but knew my duties as a daughter were about to drastically change.
As my family learned more about the disease and how deadly it truly is, we began to research what the best option for treatment was. It wasn't in my mom to let this disease just take over.
She fought through months of experimental treatments, trips back and forth to the hospital and doctors appointments, and many sleepless nights agonizing in pain. Months turned into 2 1/2 years, and before we knew it, we realized she wasn't responding to the experimental vaccines anymore. For the first time in almost 3 years, my mom was giving up.
On March 7, 2007 my mom and I said our goodbyes to one another. I'll never forget that day for as long as I live. As I sat in the hospital room wondering how I would ever make it through another day without her, I realized that is not what she would have wanted. She was always so positive and upbeat, living everyday like it was her last. Today, I try to live my life just the way she did, never taking anything or anyone for granted.
On April 28, 2013, I am running the St.Lukes Half Marathon in honor of my mom. I hope my story serves as an awareness of how dangerous melanoma is. I wish to carry on the fight against it, so that we can share more survival stories and celebrate more birthdays.
My fundraising page is through Miles for Melanoma. This gives runners, like myself, the chance to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Any donation is greatly appreciated!