|Ashley Trenner celebrating her 40th birthday.|
Blogging about melanoma and raising awareness for skin cancer in my community has its perks. I've met some of the most inspiring people I know, and most recently, I had the opportunity to testify in front of the Oregon State legislature. But there's a downside to raising awareness about a disease that kills 1 in 8 people who receive its diagnosis: melanoma kills people I care about.
After testifying in Salem, I heard about Ashley Trenner on the local news. Ashley was a stage IV melanoma patient whose final wish was to inform people about the dangers of UV exposure. I was touched by Ashley's story. I could totally relate--I used to love tanning beds, too, until I was diagnosed with melanoma in 2010. I reached out to her mother, Karen, to ask permission to share Ashley's story at the Portland Melanoma Walk this May.
|Ashley at hospice. Melanoma is so much more |
than just skin cancer.
I was deeply saddened when I learned about Ashley's passing on Friday, March 15. While I never had the opportunity to meet Ashley personally, my heart goes out to all her friends and family.
I encourage you to read and share Ashley's warning about melanoma, which is posted on her friend Tracie's blog. Here's a quick excerpt:
"I want to help people to be knowledgeable about Melanoma. It’s a cancer that’s not taken seriously. The majority of people say, 'Oh, it's just skin cancer, your lucky.' If not detected early skin cancer is deadly. It’s so important to get regular skin checkups by a dermatologist. Also don’t procrastinate if you see something suspicious. I didn't listen when I was warned about the dangers of tanning beds and not using sunscreen. I can't take back my poor decisions but I HOPE to help others make better decisions about not using tanning beds."