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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!

Sincerely,

Rick Shapiro

Vice President

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