Author Archives: Blackout Melanoma

Beca’s Care Family Thanks & Holiday Wishes 2017

Our Beca’s Care Families truly thank you for the support that you provide during this challenging time for their families. Below are updates on these incredible families along with their sweet gratitude:


“My name is Ashley Dunning and I live in Granite City, Illinois. Currently I receive treatment in Houston, Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I finally agreed to a clinical trial which involves an investigational chemo. We are also gearing up to do a T-cell transplant after extracting and growing billions of my own cells. So far, we’re gaining ground as my previous doctor said I wouldn’t survive to see August. I’m so thankful for Blackout Melanoma and Beca’s Care supporters because I would otherwise not be able to travel back and forth for the 30 hour round trip. This year I’ve been blessed to see my family on Thanksgiving and look forward to Christmas with them as well. Heading into the new year I’m excited about my options and what new treatments may become available to me.”



We are the Baldwin Family from Joplin Missouri. Rob, Kaitlin and our 3 year old son Zachary.

Rob receives treatment at MD Anderson in Houston Texas. As of now he has active tumors in his skull bone and in both lungs. His current treatment of taking Mekinist and Tafinlar seems to be keeping things stable, but unfortunately the drugs have done a lot of damage to his heart. Robs doctors have lowered the dose of his medications and changed when they are to be taken to try and help give his heart time to rest. As of now Rob has echocardiograms to check his heart every month and scans every 6 weeks. If his heart function continues to drop, they will be taking him off his current treatment and we will begin the search to see if there are any other options available.

It’s hard to put into words how much of a blessing Blackout Melanoma has been for us. They have continued to support us emotionally and financially throughout our entire cancer journey. The group of people that make up Blackout Melanoma have became like family to us. They are truly the kindest, most caring people and they are there anytime we need them. We are so grateful for everything they continue to do for us.

This journey is not an easy one, but with God, Blackout Melanoma and our amazing families supporting us, it’s possible.

We say thank you often to the people that make up the Blackout Melanoma, but if your reading this and you’ve donated to this organization we want you to know that your changing lives. This organization has been a God send to our family and to so many other families.

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.












My name is Samantha Owen and I live in Wentzville Missouri with my amazing seven-year-old son Kyler. I am currently receiving treatment for Malignant Melanoma at DePaul cancer center in Lake St. Louis. My cancer treatment consists of IV infusions of chemotherapy/immunotherapy every 2 weeks, blood work and lab draws every 2 weeks, and PET scans done every 3 months. So far, the treatment is going well and PET scans are coming back good. I would just like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone with Blackout Melanoma and each and every one of our supporters. You guys have been like a second family to me and my son and have helped us beyond words and I am forever grateful!!! Thank you for everything you do and Please keep up the amazing work!!!!

Samantha Owen


Beca’s Care: The Dunning Family, Granite City, IL

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 family from Granite City, Illinois.

Meet Ashley and Xavier!

On May 26th, 2006 I was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma in my left eye. At the time I was 17 and this was a rather new diagnosis. The ophthalmologist said the tumor was too large to attempt radiation treatments and that I would have to have my eye removed. On June 22nd, 2006 my left eye was removed in an outpatient surgery. Prior to the surgery I had a chest x-ray as well as liver function tests run on my blood. The ophthalmologist was checking for metastases but found none.

I returned to normal life and finished high school. I went on to college, gave birth to a healthy baby boy in 2009, and found work after school. I took my job at Missouri Baptist Medical Center as a pharmacy technician in November 2016. Because of this change in location (I was born and raised near Bloomington, Indiana) I accepted new insurance and therefore had to change providers for my continuing care. After a brief visit with a local ophthalmologist, Dr. Kumar Rao, I was referred to Leonel Hernandez Aya for continuing care. Dr. Hernandez is an oncologist and ordered a liver ultrasound and lab work to establish a baseline for my care. I went to have these procedures done alone because I believed they were routine. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, I was told they found four lesions on my liver.

Dr. Hernandez then ordered more CT scans as well as a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed my worst fear: stage IV metastatic liver melanoma. So here I am with a relatively new job, away from my family and with a new melanoma diagnosis. I immediately had a port placed in my chest as I was gearing up to undergo a clinical trial with a new chemotherapy drug. However, the day of my first infusion I called and cancelled. Something was wrong. I cannot explain it but I could not justify making my body horribly ill in order to make some attempt at achieving health. My oncologist, Dr. Hernandez, got upset with me and canceled all of my prescriptions, scans and labs. I begged him to help me try any treatment option besides chemo or radiation and he refused and continued to remind me I would die in 6 months if I did not receive standard treatment immediately. I did not want to be with a care team that did not believe in me or my battle.

I sought out a nurse practitioner, Pat Bauer, who is now my cheerleader. Pat offers nutritional counseling to me as well as high dose vitamin c and curcumin infusions. Pat has me following a ketogenic diet to starve the melanoma cells from their sugar-rich diet. Pat also has me flushing toxins with coffee enemas (weird, I know). Along with this I am testing my glucose to monitor my ketosis as well as monitoring my pH to achieve alkalinity. Pat truly believes we can fight this without making me ill. Naturally, my insurance will not pay a dime towards my holistic care. Though I had been working nearly 60 hours per week, my body can no longer keep up with that type of schedule. My son is caught in the middle of trying to comprehend everything at the age of 7. I reached out after speaking with Bette Cataldo, a pharmacist that I work alongside. Just last year I was celebrating being a decade melanoma free to have that dream crushed. I also foster for my local animal shelter and love all of my fur babies. Since my diagnosis I have tried tirelessly to find permanent homes for them as I am financially strained. Though times have turned gray, I still cannot put these animals back in the shelter. I am simply trying to maintain as much normality in my life as possible. My son, my foster dogs, and my job are what keep me sane.

I do not feel any symptoms currently and the melanoma is localized to the liver. I truly feel I have a chance at beating melanoma a second time. I know what the studies suggest and what the odds are but I am not ready to give up. I refuse to let my son see me struggle. He is my reason and until another scan has the chance to say any different, I AM BEATING THIS.

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

For any other information, please contact us at

Beca’s Care: The Owen Family, Wentzville, 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 Wentzville, Missouri.

Meet Samantha and Kyler!



My fight against cancer started with me drying off after getting out of the shower. As I was drying off with a towel, I scratched the back of my left arm, right on top of a mole that has been there for years. It began to bleed and the nurse in me doctored up the spot and placed a band aid over it. After a few days it wasn’t looking any better. When it comes to me getting a cut or scratch I tend to pay extra attention to it, because being a type 1 diabetic, it tends to take me twice as long to heal. After about a week and a half with no improvement on how the area was looking, I decided to go to the dermatologist, which I see on a regular basis. I made an appointment with Dr. joseph DuVall, and he biopsied the area right away. The dermatologist who I had been seeing for years prior had refused to remove the mole. In the years before, I asked her to remove it as I did not like the way it looked and where it was located. The response I got from her was “It appears to be ok and doesn’t look worrisome, so we can just keep an eye on it.” Thank goodness she did not accept my insurance anymore and I was able to see a new dermatologist, who was actually interested and took action on my concerns. After the biopsy was taken I was called on February 13th, 2014 that I had Melanoma and I needed to go see a surgeon. They recommended Dr. Neff. Nonetheless, I drove straight there. Dr. DuVall said he was expecting me and was aware of my situation.

After visiting with Dr. Neff, I was informed that I had at least stage 3 Melanoma and scheduled the surgery to have it removed, as well as, a sentinel node biopsy to see if the Melanoma had spread. My surgery was scheduled for February 22nd. During the surgery they removed 2 lymph nodes and a large portion of the back of my left arm. They informed me that they had to take more tissue than expected because my margins were not clear and ultimately it measured 2.8 cm. That following Wednesday I received another call from Dr. Neff’s office stating that my sentinel node biopsy came back positive and there was cancer located in the 2 lymph nodes they removed.         They rushed me in for a PET scan that Thursday, and scheduled me for my second surgery March 1st to remove the remaining lymph nodes left under my left arm. The week following surgery, they called again with the results of the other 23 lymph nodes which all came back negative. So the melanoma only metastasized to the first 2 lymph nodes that they removed, which was the first piece good news I’ve gotten since the beginning of this journey.

After the surgeries were complete, I started my one year treatment of interferon, 30 days of high dose infusions and then after the infusions were over, I did a shot every other day for a year. That was the longest year of my life. I was counting down the days until I was done giving myself shots and making myself sick feeling like I had a bad case of the flu x10. It was absolutely miserable but I pushed myself everyday because I had my son that I had to be there for. After many hospitalizations from being neutropenic and sick, Losing my hair, extreme body aches and pains, I finally was done with treatment on April 28th, 2015. I was told the cancer was gone and I would now only see the doctor every 3 months for annual checkups.

In June, I was admitted to the hospital for C-Diff. I ended up with c-diff because I was in the hospital in May, over Mothers Day with sepsis and they loaded me up with a bunch of antibiotics. I received a CT scan during my admission in June, which was unremarkable and perfect. I was finally healthy again and normal. I felt great and was excited to get back to my old routine and do the things I use to do before I got sick and that is what I did.

I had a check up with my oncologist and blood work done in August and everything came back ok. Dr. Bandi, who was my oncologist at the time said everything was looking good and even asked if I would be willing to talk to some of his other patients who were recently put on interferon and tell them my experience. I was more than willing to help and I told him I would. My next Follow up with Dr. Bandi was in December and once again my blood work was great, and physically I felt fantastic. I asked him about routine scans and should they be done and he said that they could schedule me for a routine CT scan. I had the CT scan done on December 18, 2015 and on Monday, December 21st I was told that I had a 5.2 cm lesion on my liver and nodules on both of my lungs. My heart sank and I busted into tears. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had to go through this all over, for the second time. I was speechless and numb.

I began to see Dr. Beattie, who immediately got me in for an MRI of my brain on Wednesday, which was negative, and a liver biopsy on Christmas Eve. A week later, my nightmare became reality. The melanoma was back and it metastasized to my liver and lungs. I waited until after the holidays to tell my family because I didn’t want to ruin the holidays. I got in more trouble for not telling them when I first found out.

Dr. Beattie did not hesitate starting me on treatment. He started me on a chemotherapy consisting of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab, which are infusions that will hopefully target the melanoma. Dr. Beattie did test me for the BRAF mutation which did come back negative, so with that being said, Being BRAF negative leaves me with less treatment options. As for treatment, My first infusion was on January 12th and I will continue with these infusions every 3 weeks for 4 cycles. Then I will continue to only take the Nivolumab by infusion every 2 weeks indefinitely, until there is remission, my body cannot take the side effects any more, or the drug quits working.

I do not have a choice but to fight. I am a 29 year old single mother of a beautiful 5 year old boy who is my world and my number one reason to keep my head high and to keep pushing and to NEVER give up. He IS my inspiration and he gives me my strength. It is unfortunate that this happens to anyone and honestly unfair because no one deserves to go through this, but I will go through it because of him and I refuse to give up. I have been through a lot in the past 2 years, I was diagnosed with cancer , I lost my best friend and cousin, I lost my grandpa and my childhood best four-legged friend on the same day, and was diagnosed with cancer…again, all on top of me being a type 1 diabetic since the age of 5 years old. Yes, it is a lot and sometimes I ask myself why but I know that I will never be able to get the answer to that question, but what I do know is, that I am going to keep fighting and not give up.


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

For any other information, please contact us at

Beca’s Care: The Alsop Family, St. Louis, 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.

The Alsop Family

We began supporting the Alsop family in 2015.  Lisa Alsop had stage IV metastatic melanoma. She was active in Blackout Melanoma events and was a shining light and constant reminder of why we do what we do.

Lisa lost her battle to melanoma January 18th, 2016.

Felicia “Lisa” E Alsop

September 30, 1970 – January 18, 2016

Loving wife of Daniel; cherished mother of Jacob and Brody; loving daughter of Joan (Tim) Diffley and the late Marvin Levy; dear step-sister of Molly Xenakis, Maggie Brown and Michael Diffley; dear sister-in-law of Joan Alsop, Paula Alsop and Patricia Hernandez; dear aunt, niece, cousin and friend to many.


The Alsop Family at Blackout Melanoma’s A Day the Ballpark event in June, 2015.

“Blackout Melanoma has been here to support me financially and physically along with my parents. I don’t know what I would do without such great people holding my hand and being positive when I can’t for myself!! It means the WORLD to me!!! They are not just a regular group. They are my FAMILY!!!”

May you rest in peace, Lisa.  We love you and we miss you.





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

For any other information, please contact us at

The Battle to Win the Race against Melanoma Cancer is on!

by Mack Shults

The battle against metastatic melanoma cancer has been tremendously inspired by Rebeca Shults Campos who was only 26 years old when she died from this horrific disease. Hearing the diagnosis “you are dying” was tragic news, mind-boggling and unbelievable to Rebeca and her family. After this tremendous shock, Beca with barely 24 years behind her, with a college education and standing on the rainbow of a brilliant future and even hearing the joyous sound of wedding bells, was determined to fight her cancer. Her fight would not be centered on herself but on all who struggle with the illness. With faith in her Lord Jesus Christ, her vision of a world without melanoma began to grow into a relentless marathon.

The Blackout Melanoma Foundation was born to fulfill Beca’s dream. The battle pains of the movement got off to a great start to raise funds for the education of prevention, detection and treatment of the illness, through the following:

-A silent auction in St. Louis, Mo. (Beca’s home city)

-A banquet sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Henderson, Ky.

-The establishment of Beca’s 5K races

-The 1st   Beca’s   5K Run/Walk was in St. Louis in June of 2010.

What about Beca’s vision to give hope and courage that the possibility of a cure can become a reality? What real progress has been made in this great battle? Consider the very positive steps which have been taken to ‘Blackout Melanoma.”

– Beca started out by learning everything known about the disease.

– Beca courageously gave her own body to the doctors and scientists for a study at the National Institute of Health where her own “miracle” T-cells were used to explore the methods of treatment. Her “break-through” experiments have given hope for means to fight this deadly form of cancer. Her progress even received the attention of a national TV broadcast.

– Aneta Campos, Beca’s mother, showed through Caring Bridge how God can take the worst nightmares of life, the hardest blows that life can throw, and teach us the truth that real character shines through adversity and suffering. Through her witness to the strength of faith in Christ, Aneta was an example of selfless devotion and love to a child in unthinkable circumstances. Even though life is often unfair, difficult, and disappointing, it still pays to serve Jesus through our earthly journey. One day life’s trials will be swallowed up by eternity and all God’s family will rejoice together forever.

– The Annual Races have grown tremendously and have drawn people from Japan, Brazil, Africa and from several states in the USA.

– Thousands of dollars have been raised for cancer research and to provide aid to families battling the illness.   Two families in Missouri are presently being helped.

In May, 2014—“Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month”– Aneta Shults Campos, Founder and President of the Blackout Melanoma Foundation, entered into a partnership with Washington University School of Medicine, Chesterfield, Mo. With their first $50,000 research grant for clinical research projects that explore innovative approaches to understanding melanoma and its treatment in order to move closer to a cure. Those closely involved in the research project are Dr. Lynn A. Cornelius is a Professor in the Chief Division of Dermatology; Dr. Shivani Tripathi, a Research Physician, and Dr. Gerald P. Linette, Associate Professor of Medicine in Medical Oncology. Dr. Linette also cared for Beca during her personal battle with melanoma. Dr. Cornelius and Dr. Linette also run Beca’s 5Ks.

The research grant, along side of other grants, is already showing positive results. In a report published April 2, 2015 in “Science Express,” Dr. Linette stated, “Our team has developed a new strategy for personalized cancer immunotherapy.” This strategy involves personalized melanoma vaccines used to marshal a powerful immune response against unique mutations in a patient’s tumors. This new approach has great possibilities as an important first step to personalized immune-based cancer treatments.

In the Henderson race of 2013, Sharon Cates, a highly recognized citizen of Henderson, was present and was honored by a team of runners from the Cates Farm and by the Blackout Melanoma Foundation. Sharon was a victim of melanoma. Other families of the Tri-State area who had lost loved ones to the disease or who were fighting the battle were also honored.

The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team from the diagnosis of Beca’s illness has given      great appeals for their fans to join the fight to win against melanoma. On one occasion over 44,000 fans and some 300 supporters of Beca’s 5K saw Beca’s mom throw out the first pitch of the game. The team will make another promotion on June 13 in St. Louis.

Beca passed away on May 19, 2011 in the Barnes-Jewish Hospital of St. Louis.

Her courageous and painful journey to blaze a path to ‘blackout” melanoma was not in vain. Her doctors, her nurses, and the hospital’s personnel were so moved by her faith that they have become great supporters of Beca’s 5K. Other doctors, nurses, hospitals, businesses, banks, industries, Dermatology Associations, churches, and a host of individuals in the St. Louis and Tri-State areas have gladly joined the battle.

A special plaque on a city park bench in St. Louis commemorates Beca’s fight that scarred her body but could never blemish her soul. Faithful to her Lord and Savior even when times were critical and her suffering was far beyond description, Beca always said, “I’m fine.” Then on the day she looked on the face of Jesus, He wiped away every tear and said “Beca, Welcome Home! Now you are Really Fine!”

Today Beca’s 5K challenges us to fight to win the marathon to ‘Blackout Melanoma.” The war against melanoma goes on. Almost every hour melanoma takes another life. Almost 10,000 people die each year in the USA alone and more that 65,000 new cases will be diagnosed. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, and the second most common cancer in adolescents. Melanoma is on the rise. However melanoma can be stopped! Prevention and early detection are the keys to healthy skin. When tumors are detected very early and have not penetrated deep into the skin, the survival rate from melanoma is as high as 99 percent. Deep tumors, known as metastatic melanoma, are usually diagnosed with the shocking news, like Beca heard, “you know that you are dying, don’t you?” No one should ever have to hear these words!

Thus knowledge of the causes of melanoma, the risk factors, the methods of prevention, the importance of an early diagnosis, and the present methods of treatment are factors of life or death. Risk factors are highest among people with pale skin color, facial freckling, red hair, blue eyes and a great number of pigmented spots on the skin, such as moles. Everyone should be discouraged from using tanning beds and encouraged to stay out of the mid-day sun and to use protective clothing and proper sunscreen. These are very small factors compared to the enormous cost of treating metastatic melanoma. In the last few years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved two revolutionary drugs to treat metastatic melanoma for people whose life expectancy is measured in months. One of the drugs is called Yervoy and may extend life for a while. However, this drug works for less than 20 percent of patients and cost $120,000 for a course of treatment of three months. The other drug is Zelboraf and has been effective in 50 percent of patients who had a specific genetic mutation called BRAF V600 E. Even this drug has no certainty to provide help forever and cost $56,000 for a standard six-month course of treatment. The best treatments for melanoma are the preventative steps one takes every day. Get educated with the facts!   Visit your dermatologist often! Examine every mole, freckle, and spot on your body and be alert to any change.

We are in the Race of Life or Death! Get in the Race for Life! Join Beca’s vision of a world without melanoma!



Rebeca Shults Campos was the granddaughter of Henderson residents, Mack and Audrey.

Shults. They are retired missionaries of the Southern Baptist Convention to Brazil.

Rebeca was born in Brazil and came to Brazil at 12 years of age along with her brother Romeu who was 10 years old.   Rebeca’s mother is Aneta Shults Campos who lives in St. Louis.

The Blackout Melanoma Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) charity organization in an effort to fulfill Beca’s vision of a world without melanoma by bringing awareness and education about melanoma, to support families suffering with the disease as well as fund research for a cure. The public is invited and strongly encouraged to participate in Beca’s 5K on May 9, 2015, at the Central Park of Henderson.

Registration can be made online at until May 1, 2015 for $25 per runner. Also registration will be at 8 a.m. on the day of the race for $30 per runner.   T-shirts are included in the fee and teams of eight or more who are preregistered, are $20 per runner. Registration forms and checks can be mailed to Blackout Melanoma, c/o Lauren Shults Simpson- Race Director, 6290 E. Doubletree Dr. Henderson, Ky. 42420. Lauren is a radiation therapist who serves patients in the Tri-State area and a cousin of Rebeca Shults Campos.

The annual Beca’s 5K for St. Louis is scheduled for September 19, 2015 at Creve Coeur Lake.

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.

For any other information, please contact us at

Rick’s Blog April 2014

I’m very proud of what we accomplished in the past year.  As we move closer to meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission of educating, advocating, and providing resources to secure a generation free of Melanoma, I think it’s important to note the major accomplishments and, again, thank all those who helped us get there!

Blackout Melanoma’s 2013 Highlights:

Our organization became an IRS tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

As a not-for-profit organization, this status ‘incorporates’ us and let’s us exist and operate for the public good, with all our profits going towards completing our mission.

We started the year adding a number of new Board Members.

Our new board members provide us a talent pool of energetic and motivated people to contribute their ideas and help share in the diverse and challenging goals we set for the organization.

Update to our website and increased social media presence.

We knew we had to step it up and our basic web site went from a very dated version to now having all the bells and whistles, e-commerce functionality, and social media presence to power us into 2013 and beyond.

Our Fundraising Events raised over $45,000!

We raised $45,000 in additional funds through our fundraising activities including the Cardinals Day at the Ballpark at Busch Stadium, the fourth annual Beca’s 5 in St. Louis, the first annual Beca’s 5Kentucky Henderson Tennessee, and the Black Friday Event at the Wheel House during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Our Education Pillar participated in education seminars and health fairs.

Board members set up our booth at multiple health fairs and seminars to promote our message and educate the public.  We handed out literature and sunscreen samples. Blackout Melanoma made appearances at other melanoma races and benefits, helping support their efforts and forming alliances for the future!

We partnered with Washington University School of Medicine and introduced the Rebeca Shults Campos Melanoma Research Fellowship.

With a $50,000 donation, we have formed a strategic relationship with Washington University School of medicine to fund a fellowship and have commenced the largest and most progressive promising step forward for our organization to date.

Thank you all for your continued support! As we continue moving forward in 2014, we are better equipped, better funded, and more motivated than ever

to accomplish or mission. Today we are well poised to fund families battling

this terrible disease, continue educating all those who will listen, and provide hope to finding cures.

I hope to see you at any number of the events we’ve got planned for this year –  stay tuned for updates!


Rick Shapiro

Vice President

Dawn Hayworth – The Bottom Line

My name is Dawn Hayworth I was born in 1954 with Ichthyosis, a congenital skin disorder characterized by dryness and scaling (interesting but a topic for another story).  While my skin disorder is not particularly relevant to skin cancer, exfoliating lotions and fair color makes my skin more vulnerable to sun damage and sun damage is relevant the development of skin cancer.  Since I have been under the care of dermatologists all my life, I know about avoiding the sun, wearing sunscreen, and monitoring my skin for changes that need to be brought to doctor’s attention.  I didn’t always avoid over-exposure to the sun, but I did have early detection and treatment.   Not everyone knows the seriousness of prevention, detection, and early treatment of skin cancers.  I observed from the beginning when Beca Campos along with her mother and Rita Julien (close family friend) established the first  Beca’s Five Fun Run/Walk in 2010, and following that the Blackout Melanoma Foundation during her own battle with Melanoma. She bravely shared her faith, her story, and her dream that Melanoma would someday be eliminated.  She showed us what we were fighting against and challenged us to continue the work for prevention awareness.  Early prevention, detection, and treatment of skin cancer saves lives. That is THE BOTTOM LINE.

Beca was a determined young woman.  She was a hard worker and set goals that would make your head spin.  Then she would deliver; Bam!  She had a faith in God and His promises that never faltered and was eager to share with others.  She was a lot like her mother, Aneta, my BFF. But Beca was strong willed, would keep it simple, set her ideas out clearly and say, “That’s the bottom line”.  She made me laugh.  I loved to tease with her and her heart would dance all over me like the sparkles from her eyes.  Then she would be off to get something done.  What a beautiful crew. Aneta and I had two children each about the same ages who were just stepping into adult shoes.  Our dogs even enjoyed each other.  Doors were always open.

I remember wondering how I ever came to live next door to them in the first place.  I had a whim and sold my house just short of that dreaded “empty-nesting” thing happened.  I wondered what I was doing buying a condo and cried a little as the furniture was being squeezed into its small but handsome rooms.  Aneta caught me in that moment as she knocked on the door and introduced herself offering friendship and encouragement.  She is still my ‘Rock’.  It wasn’t long before I understood better that I surely landed next door because we needed each other.  In fact, I needed her whole family and the richness of their love and faith which spilled over into the lives of all fortunate enough to know them.

I remember when the dizzying diagnosis came and monsters entered the story.  They came in the form of poorly organized and rapidly growing tissue cells in Beautiful Beca’s perfect body…well, almost perfect.  There was that one sore lump behind her knee which puzzled and pained her until she couldn’t wear the Barbie shoes or enjoy dressing-up as much anymore.  There was that lump and too many questions that went unresolved.  The news came to me softly and gently from Aneta’s father, Mack Shults (known as Beca’s grandpa Shults), as he looked into my eyes holding back a well of tears.

The news was folding my knees; but I straightened to be there for Mack, a real man of God and he knew from where his strength would come and I knew too.  It was fear.  Aneta and Beca were not home yet, so we talked for a moment.  I wanted to run and scream, try to think of the right words, manage to give them their privacy, stop barging in all the time.  Of course, Aneta and her family would let me because they were not the kind to say, “This is not a good time for your barging in; maybe we could call you later”.  Nope, they would always bless me.

As time went by and Beca weakened, but she was Aneta’s Rock,  Beca was hers. They were always like best friends.  I knew they were both shattered and I surely wished there was something I could do.  I did what I could, you know the things, but Beca had to carry this illness and Aneta had to watch with every impression of bravery and strength she could master for the sake of her children.  She delivered.  Our bedrooms were against the same wall and our beds were butted up against it head to head.  I felt her tears over there and I lay sobbing for her pain, a mother’s pain.  Like no other, is a mother’s pain.  Beca began sleeping upstairs too and it was good having them so close there in the next condo just through the wall.  It was easier to pray for them somehow.  I found ways to not barge in so much by pressing my palm against the bedroom wall above my headboard.

There are so many stories I could tell.  Aneta gave permission to share them.  For now, I would tell you this much…Beca and her family came to terms with circumstances of their physical lives and they lived in the Spirit of Holiness, never giving in to the poor prognosis and always believing in a cure.  They still do.

Beca’s mother and family know she is alive in their work, the work issued by determined Beca.  Continue the work of teaching and spreading awareness until melanoma is no more.

I wouldn’t trade Beca for awareness, I am ashamed to say.  I want Beca back.  I want her mother to never have lost a child.  I want those memories erased and replaced with memories of fancy jobs for Beca because she worked her way through college holding three jobs. I want Beca’s body and smile still dropping jaws.  I want babies for Beca and a family with her children chasing butterflies and rainbows.  I want Romeu’s and Aneta innocent again of the things they saw; except for Beca’s strength and faith, of course.  They were so proud.

Yes, I have written much less on the Caring Bridge than anyone might have expected given my proximity to the situation and closeness to Aneta.  I have pulled the covers over my head and hidden from the pain associated with reliving the Campos tragedy by writing about it for the foundation…and I want her back.  I remember Aneta’s fragility about medical things.  Beca took over and her mother assisted.  I remember the mountains of bandages and how Aneta grew stronger about such things.  Aneta asks me to write from my experience and heart as a friend and neighbor in hopes that it will make someone put on that stinking sunscreen.  She has her daughter’s determination and is devoted to the bigger picture.

Details are Aneta’s story to tell.  However, I will tell you that it was Hell and on top of it all, people had to work, clean house, buy groceries, pay the bills and manage daily lives that never stop.  There were the loved ones across several continents …good, loving  people…phones and computers which never rested.  Everyone kept in contact, visiting and loving them.  So many prayers needed prayed.  Aneta and her family stretched return comfort offered them.  There were so many people to love back.  It was beautiful and amazing.  The doors were always open and God gave them willingness to give up many of the quiet moments I wanted for them.  Aneta’s gift of hospitality was at its peak.  Just thinking about the outpouring of love makes me smile.

The Campos and our God are so much bigger than my small part next door.  I am amazed they want me to write about it at all.  Let me tell you that it was not all bad.  There are blessings to spite those monsters.  I want you to know about lives touched for the better, too.

I will tell you again that Beca worked hard in her darkest hours to research her disease, came to terms with her new reality, and helped her family find some worth in it all.   What a noble young woman, what a Christ like vision.   She was totally immersed in finalizing all paper work for the Blackout Melanoma organization.  She wanted to save lives through education and awareness. She never blamed anyone, least not her Lord God.  She is being Jesus for others by her example to encourage others to help end ignorance about Melanoma and work until it is no more.

Tell everyone you know that early detection and treatment saves lives; but that prevention is the cure for melanoma…and that’s the bottom line.

Dawn Hayworth

Dear Friend, neighbor, volunteer at Beca’s 5K events, and proud sponsor for Blackout Melanoma. 

Lisa Sola Blog

So proud that I know her beautiful momma and I get to feel her spirit by knowing you!!!  You are so amazing by everything you do in her honor!  A true inspiration!  

Truly blessed to know you Aneta, as my new neighbor and also as a sweet friend.

It’s wonderful to see all the tremendous work accomplished by Blackout Melanoma, and so proud to be a sponsor.

Lisa Sola

Mickie Kohlschreiber Blog

It was 1986, I was a senior in college, when a news story caught my attention. The picture that was displaying on the TV was something I could identify with, but what was it? As my full attention turned to what the reporter was saying, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…Skin Cancer. That was the beginning of my 27 years of skin cancer and counting. I have had two out of the three different types of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma as well as Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Both are successfully treatable with early detection. If left undetected it can cause permanent disfiguring. I have undergone approximately 25 Mole surgeries to remove these cancers, and have had numerous Actinic keratosis (precancerous) spots treated. From the time I received my first confirmed diagnosis I was adamant about wearing sunscreen and limiting myself to sun exposure. I was never one who used a tanning bed or lived by the pool, but with a light complexion, anytime spent in the sun was allowing the time necessary for the sun damage to occur. I have been told it can take 10 years or more for the damage to develop into cancer, and even though I continue to use sunscreen daily, I will unfortunately be dealing with the results of my youthful years for the rest of my life. I do consider myself lucky and blessed. Lucky and happy that when it was brought to my attention, I chose to become aware and take the preventative steps needed to not allow my cancers to go undetected. I go to my dermatologist every three months for a head to toe screening. I encourage everyone to become familiar with your moles, freckles, and any spot on your body. Become knowledgeable of the signs and take notice of any changes…your life just may depend on it.  Prevention and detection is key to a healthy skin.

As our loving Beca would say: Be aware, Take time to share, Show that you care.

I am not only a good and close friend to Aneta and her family, but a proud sponsor for Blackout Melanoma, and will do everything I can to spread the melanoma awareness.

Mickie Kohlschreiber