Beca’s Care: The Baldwin Family, Joplin, Mo

Through our Beca’s Care Program, Blackout Melanoma provides emotional and financial support to individuals currently diagnosed with stage III/IV metastatic melanoma. As patients and their families go through the challenges of life onset by metastatic melanoma, it’s important that we continue to provide security and hope to them. Currently, Blackout Melanoma is sponsoring a young family from Joplin, Missouri.

Meet Rob, Kaitlin, and baby Zachary!

During the first week of February, Rob Baldwin (32), noticed a small lump under his armpit. At first, he thought he had pulled a muscle because of the soreness. A week later, his wife Kaitlin gave birth to their first child Zachary. The next couple of weeks were hectic; between Zack having to go back to the hospital for jaundice, and getting the house ready for their new baby. Rob’s lump slowly progressed to the point of needing to get it checked out. The initial exam showed the lump was likely just an infection. After further tests and a biopsy of the site, it was determined that surgery was needed to remove the mass. Rob had surgery on March 31st, 2014, to remove the 9cm mass. The surgery revealed that the mass, and some surrounding lymph nodes, contained melanoma.

Rob, Kaitlin, their family and friends were shocked when they got the news that Rob had melanoma. They immediately started searching for hospitals that specialized in melanoma treatment; everyone kept recommending MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. Rob and Kaitlin packed their bags with their 7 week old baby Zachary, and headed south on April 6th, 2014. A few weeks later, Rob had his second surgery. This surgery was to remove all lymph nodes on his right side. Including the one located under his pectoral muscle that lit up on his PET scan originally. On May 19th, Rob had his post-op appointment with his surgical oncologist Doctor Gershenwald. The surgery went well. However Doctor Gershenwald found more spots of melanoma than they expected. Rob and Kaitlin then met with Rob’s medical oncologist Doctor Amaria. Doctor Amaria told Rob that his current diagnoses is stage 3C melanoma. She went over statistics with Rob and Kaitlin; they sat in the doctor’s office understanding that the rates of survival for Stage 3C melanoma patients were not the best. Rather than focus on the unfavorable numbers, Rob & Kaitlin focused on their future, their child, and their faith.

Right after the Thanksgiving holiday, Rob had scans and tests ran. At this time, they found the cancer had spread to his brain, meaning he would need to undergo full brain radiation. The full brain radiation would consist of 10 treatments over a two week period. As of December 17th, Kaitlin reported that Rob was 60% done with this treatment. Aside from being tired and dealing with headaches, she said he is doing amazingly well and is in great spirits! Kaitlin and Rob just celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary, and are looking forward to celebrating the holiday with family and friends!

For more information on our Beca’s Care Program please click here.

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