Loading...

Follow Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation Blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Dave, his wife, and Dr Adams at our 2019 gala

In May of 2017, Dave saw a flyer advertising that our foundation was offering a free skin cancer screening at his new place of employment and he decided to sign up for a time slot since it was so convenient.

At that screening appointment, he saw one of our screening dermatologists who told him that he had a spot of concern on his arm that needed to be biopsied as soon as possible.

He quickly followed through with the biopsy and received a call soon after that he had melanoma. His wife was seven months pregnant. A few days later on Memorial Day Weekend, Dave got the call he had been waiting for. While his friends were all packing for the fun beach weekend ahead, Dave was anxiously waiting to hear if he had cancer. He remembers the call that he received that afternoon in vivid detail – the spot on his arm was, in fact, melanoma. He remembers being told that it was serious and that he would need to have it surgically excised immediately.

Dave openly shared with us that during that time, that he had a lot of “what if” moments. What if he had not seen the flyer for the screening? What if he hadn’t signed up? What if his company hadn’t partnered with our foundation to offer free screenings? What if Polka Dot Mama didn’t offer free screenings? With his wife about to give birth to their first child and a bright future ahead, he realized how fortunate he was that he moved the last thing on his to-do list to the first.

I am happy to share with you that this is a success story. We know that early detection saves lives. The estimated 5-year relative survival rate from diagnosis for localized, early-stage melanoma is over 98%. This number drops to 64% when melanoma travels to the lymph nodes and down to 23% when it travels to distant organs like the liver, lungs or brain.

With surgery, Dave’s cancer was removed. Two years later he remains under close watch but is in full recovery. He is a proud father to an almost two-year-old girl and his wife is expecting their second child.

On May 18, we will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest skin cancer screening. The record to beat is 780, set in 2011 in San Diego. We know that our free screenings are helping people both with and without insurance. We know that there are many people out there like Dave who have no idea that making the last thing on their to do list a priority can save their lives. Five minutes can truly make a difference. Walk-ins welcome or make your appointment to get your free skin cancer screening: www.polkadotmama.org/gbwr

The post Dave’s Story appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

On Sunday, April 28, 2019 The Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation gathered at The Pavilion at Carriage Farm for our annual Taste for a Cure Gala.  This year, the event featured 13 acclaimed chefs, led by the wonderful Serge Falcoz-Vigne of Saint Jacques.  Each appetizer was paired with a cocktail, and dinner was served family style. We raised over $165,000, which will directly fund melanoma screenings and research.

PDMMF would like to thank the following culinary experts for contributing their time, talent, and food to our event.  Because of you, the future of the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation – and the prospect for early detection, melanoma awareness, and prevention – looks so bright.

Chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne  and Chef Theresa Norris  of Saint Jacques

Chef Clayton Anderson Whiskey Kitchen

Chef Simone Lawson Sassool Mediterranean Café

Chef Eric Montagne Locals Oyster Bar

Chef Blake Gotliffe  Chef Megan Gotliffe  Under the Oak Cafe + I Do Cake

Lassiter’s Distillery

Social House Vodka

Aaron Lambert of Whiskey Kitchen

Carolina Brewery

Veuve Clicquot

Chef Florence Melin Sucre & Sel

Champion Pitmaster Christopher Prieto PRIME BBQ

Chef Kevin Smith 41 Hundred

City BBQ

Caroline Morrison Fiction Kitchen

Rocky Top Hospitality

Chef Rhonda L. Jones Chez Moi

Auctioneer J.B. Davis

Oak City Entertainment 

Photographer Jim Dukes of JJDPhoto2Art

Forward Fig Event Planners

It truly takes a village, and we are honored to work with the most amazing village around.

The post Thankful Thursday appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This past Sunday, we were honored to have the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams speak at our annual event, The 2019 Taste for a Cure Gala. It was amazing to hear about our nation’s biggest health concerns, but it was even more meaningful to find out why Melanoma is so personal to him.  In the very early months of his appointment, his wife of 17 years, Lacey, was diagnosed with stage 3C metastatic Melanoma.  This has made his first year as the “Nation’s Top Doctor” interesting to say the least.  

Lacey’s original Melanoma diagnosis was almost 9 years ago and was a simple mole removal.  Like so many others, she assumed that it was a one-time thing and as long as she kept up on skin checks, she would be in the clear.  In fact, so much time had passed that when she felt swollen lymph nodes near her original site, she assumed it was nothing and ignored it for a few months.  Their family of five had just moved to DC and was already overwhelmed with transitioning.  She remembers thinking, “I don’t even have time to unpack my house, let alone make a doctor appointment to check out a few bumps that don’t even hurt”.

When she did finally get to a doctor, everyone was shocked to find out that it was Melanoma and was in at least 3-4 lymph nodes (finding out later it was in 8), and it was the same Melanoma from 9 years ago.  Lacey couldn’t believe that this sneaky disease had been quietly lurking in her body for almost a decade with no obvious symptoms! “I have learned from this experience to never ignore anything going on with your body, no matter how small or silly it might seem.” 

So just months after moving from their Midwest home, Lacey had total lymph node removal surgery and started a year of Immunotherapy treatments.  She remembers her Oncologist at Walter Reed telling her to live her life for this year as normally as possible and let them do the watching and worrying.  “Thank God for the miracle of Opdivo (Immunotherapy).  I would never have thought that having monthly cancer treatments would just be another thing on my calendar to get through.”  Her side effects have been very minimal over the past year (ie. dry mouth, skin rash, fatigue), which is a good thing since she is always running to keep up with three kids and a husband with a pretty heavy-duty travel schedule. 

During the treatment year, Lacey received 2 scans to make sure that the disease was not growing anywhere else.  Both scans have been clear, and she is on track to finish treatments in May (this month!).  Her family will be happy to close this chapter and move on with life.  She laughs about her 9-year-old asking her occasionally, “So, are you done with this cancer thing yet”?  J  Lacey says she is excited to be “done” but she knows now that it will never be far from her mind.  She will be much more diligent about her own self-monitoring and will always be preaching skin checks to others.  “I just love Tracy and everything about the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.  I know she is too modest to admit it, but she truly has saved and is saving lives everyday with her work.  Jerome and I were so honored to be part of the gala this year!”

Lacey and Jerome Adams with their family in 2019

Dr Adams at the 2019 Taste for a Cure Gala

The post “So, are you done with this cancer thing yet”? appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We will have Spanish speaking medical practitioners at our event May 18

¡Inscríbase hoy para su prueba gratuita de cáncer de piel!

Las citas no son obligatorias, pero se recomiendan para ayudarnos a garantizar que rompamos el récord del Libro Guinness de los Récords Mundiales.
¿Cuándo?
Mayo 18, 2019 |9am – 4pm
¿Dónde?
Duke Health Center en Southpoint
6301 Herndon Rd, Durham, NC
¡Tendremos camiones de comida, música, protector solar gratis y otras actividades divertidas! ¡No solo conseguirá un examen de piel gratis para detectar la forma más común de cáncer, sino que también nos ayudará a romper el récord del Libro Guinness de Récords Mundiales!
Las citas se hacen en intervalos de 15 minutos. Si bien no podemos garantizar que lo vean a la hora exacta de su cita, haremos todo lo posible para que la clínica siga funcionando, gracias a nuestros innumerables voluntarios. Por favor, sea paciente mientras nuestro increíble equipo de dermatólogos, enfermeras y voluntarios de la comunidad hacen todo lo posible para brindarle la mejor experiencia de examen de la piel. Tómese un tiempo para completar algunos documentos necesarios que recopilan información útil para el dermatólogo que le va a examinar. No importa si tiene seguro o si ha visto a un médico recientemente. Esta evaluación está abierta para todos.
¡Esperamos verte!

The post ¡Nosotros hablamos español! appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Polka Dot Mama is gearing up for the foodie extravaganza event of the year: Taste for a Cure Chef’s Gala!  When asked about her favorite part of the night, Polka Dot Mama Founder Tracy Callahan says “Without a doubt, my favorite part is witnessing our community rally together. From the Chefs to the farmers, to the guests, patients, and donors. Witnessing the magic of everyone coming together for one common cause, one common goal energizes me to work harder!”

This event started in 2015 with the vision to raise a little money and have fun, but it has grown into raising over $100,000- each year more successful than the last. The money raised supports melanoma research for students, programs which include free skin cancer screenings, prevention, awareness events, and educational sessions-both online and in person.

The 2019 Gala is shaping up to be the most amazing one yet!  In case you have not heard, the keynote speaker will be the current US Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, MD., who has been personally impacted by melanoma.  Also joining us will be Dr. Betsey Tilson State Health Director and the Chief Medical Officer for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 2019 menu will tempt your taste buds, including a raw oyster bar, shucked tableside!  Beverages will be provided by Social House Vodka, Lassiter’s Distillery, Veuve Cliquot, and Whiskey Kitchen, which will be paired with each appetizer for a perfect match.  Serge Falcoz-Viegne of Saint Jacques is returning as our Executive Chef, overseeing 15 different dishes and the multiple chefs who will create them.  The appetizers will be served directly by the culinary experts, allowing you to learn about the flavor inspirations from the food artists themselves.  Dinner will be family style, so bring an appetite! After the meal, we will have multiple desert choices and dancing, a new addition for 2019.  Check your email in coming weeks for a link to help us select the songs.

In addition to the amazing food and drink, there will be a silent auction with over 100 items up for bid, accompanied by a live auction which includes a NASCAR driving experience.

Transportation will be provided from the gala hotel (AC Hotels by Marriott at North Hills) to The Pavilion at Carriage Farm to allow everyone to be safe and have fun.  The event planners at Forward Fig have covered every large and small detail, ensuring this will be the best event yet!

If you’re drooling for the chance to try the amazing dishes that will be prepared, click here for all the additional details. We look forward to welcoming you on April 28th.

The post TOP CHEFS. 3 COURSES. ONE NIGHT TO REMEMBER. appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Earlier this year, we did a skin screening in eastern North Carolina. That day, we were busy, and we could tell we might not be able to get to everyone. We cut it off at patient #44, telling anyone else that we’d have to see them another day.

Patient #44 had many moles, but nothing that stood out to her.  Yet something brought her to that free screening that day. For her, the screening involved waiting and perhaps she wondered, “Do I really need to be seen? Is this worth the time?”

One of her spots turned out to be cancerous. Her decision to show up that day made the difference between early intervention and too late.

We were so happy to be a resource for patient #44 that day. But what about patient #45 and the others we have to turn away? We hope those people came to a future screening, but what we really want is to be able to check every patient who is brave enough to show up.

Melanoma is well known to be the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer, statistically one person dies every single hour from melanoma. But there’s good news – if it’s detected early, prognosis is usually very good. This is why one of our foundation’s main goals is early detection.

Patient #44 is why we do what we do – we give people an easy (and free!) way to get their skin checked. We are always thinking about ways we can do it bigger. In fact, we are hosting the biggest skin-screening event ever. On May 18, we will attempt to set a mark recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for “largest skin cancer screening.” The current record for largest skin cancer screening involved 780 participants at an event put on by Kaiser Permanente in 2011, we can beat that.

Will you be a part of the largest skin-screening attempt? On May 18, we want to screen at least 780 patients. A few minutes could save your life. Please be a part of this historic event by scheduling your spot here.

The post Patient #44 appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Meet our newest team member, Lisa Mead. Lisa will serve as our marketing and communications manager.

Lisa joins us with nearly 20 years of non-profit and education experience.  Lisa has worked extensively for local and statewide not for profits doing health policy advocacy, website content, publications, social media marketing, and training programs. Her additional background in education has prepared her to present complex ideas to diverse audiences.

Lisa was born in Durham but now resides in West Cary, and almost all the extended family still lives in the local area.  She graduated from Florida State University and holds a graduate degree in Organizational Management with a focus on non-profits.

Lisa currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wake County PTA as the advocacy chair and leads a Girl Scout troop.  She also enjoys traveling with her husband and three children- they are hoping to visit her 50th state soon.  In the warmer months you can find them boating on Jordan Lake, hiking, gardening, or camping, always with her sunscreen on!

The post New Team Member! appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Most people reading this blog know they should put on sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays before heading outside. However, to maximize your protection from the sun, you need to wear Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing.

Elena Green, a mom from Amherst, MA, likes using UPF clothing for her son, especially when they are out at the pool or at the beach. “I always apply sunscreen,” she said, “but this is more convenient. And the rash guards dry quickly, so you don’t have your child sitting in an uncomfortable wet shirt.”

According to a study quoted by the American Academy of Dermatology Association, most people apply just 25% to 50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Even diligent sunscreen users may miss spots. And, even if you applied the correct amount and didn’t miss any spots, sunscreen may rub off and it needs to be applied every 2 hours. Given sunscreen’s limitations, wearing UPF-rated clothing just makes sense.

How UPF Clothing Works

Pageant contestants have platforms– an issue or cause that they champion throughout their reign. Smith’s platform is skin cancer prevention and awareness. As part of her platform, Smith’s goal is to install sunscreen dispensers at parks and playgrounds. She placed her first sunscreen dispenser at Northside Park Imagination Fun Station in her hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi, and she hopes to place more dispensers around the state. She wants to cover school playgrounds to provide sun protection for children at recess.

Smith’s platform has also led her to promote Mississippi Senate Bill 2213 (2017), which would prohibit tanning bed use by people under age 18. Current Mississippi law allows children as young as 14 to use tanning beds. “Young teenagers aren’t thinking about the potential harm from tanning,” Smith says. “If I hadn’t already had skin cancer at that age, I might have wanted to try it.”

Unfortunately, MS Senate Bill 2213 didn’t get out of committee in 2017. Smith would like to see senators reintroduce and pass the bill. This law could make a significant difference in skin cancer rates in Mississippi. Avoiding tanning – especially from tanning beds – is a key component of melanoma prevention. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%).”

A Creative Way to Increase Awareness

All clothing protects your skin from light and other outdoor elements. But some clothing gives more protection than others. A thin, white cotton tee shirt might have an UPF rating of 5. That shirt would allow 1/5th of the sun’s rays hit your skin. When that same cotton tee shirt gets wet, its UPF rating would be even lower, probably a 3.

Clothing that offers more UPF protection will have fabric that is tightly woven – especially synthetic fabrics like Lycra, which can be woven more tightly than cotton or linen.

Thicker, heavier fabric allows less light through, and darker colors absorb more light before it can get to the skin underneath. Manufacturers may also treat fabric with chemicals or dyes that absorb UV light to increase its UPF rating.

Where to Find UPF Clothing

The great news is that clothing retailers offer UPF clothing in a wide variety of styles and price points.

One reliable source of recommendations is the Skin Cancer Foundation, which offers a Product Finder on its website. This foundation offers a Seal of Recommendation for sunscreen and other sun protective products, including clothing.

At Polka Dot Mama, we recommend starting your search at:

SPF Addict

Athleta

UV Skinz

Coolibar

Factors That Affect UPF Protection

It’s worth noting that as fabric stretches, it becomes thinner, which allows more UV radiation through. So if you are debating between sizes, pick the looser one that you can wear without stretching the fabric to its limit.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much of your body is covered by the clothing. If your bikini or swim briefs have a UPF 50 rating, that’s great, but you will need to add more clothing to get adequate sun protection. Time to find a rash guard that matches your suit!

A fabric’s condition also affects its UPF rating. A fabric can fray as it ages, and the fraying will allow more UV radiation in. Fading is another concern with older clothing. The UPF protection provided by darker colors only works if those colors stay dark.

You may want to choose clothing made from synthetic, quick drying fabric, because many fabrics become less effective at blocking UV radiation when they get wet.

Finally, if you’re looking for UPF clothing designed for hiking or other non-water activities, check for strategic mesh or vents that will enable you to keep cool while still protecting your skin from UV rays.

Behind the Numbers

Just like SPF, higher UPF numbers mean more protection. While SPF only measures sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays, UPF measures how clothing can protect you from UVA and UVB radiation.

The UPF number indicates how much of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can get through the clothing to your skin. The UPF number is the denominator. For example, a shirt with a UPF rating of 10 allows 1/10 of the UV radiation to get to your skin underneath.

A shirt with a UPF rating of 50 allows only 1/50th of the UVA and UVB radiation to pass through– it’s blocking at least 98% of UV radiation.

In 2001, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provided technical standards for testing and rating UV-protective fabrics. When shopping for UPF clothing, you can look for the following levels of protection:

  • Good protection:  UPF 15 – 24
  • Very good protection: UPF 25 – 39
  • Excellent protection: UPF 40 – 50+

Just as with sunscreen, higher UPF clothing may cost a little more, but it will offer more protection. How much is it worth to you to avoid melanoma?

The post Protect Yourself With UPF Clothing appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

July 10, 2015 the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation became incorporated and by September of 2015 we were granted non-profit status.  Since that time, we have grown and evolved into a foundation that I am very proud of.  It has been an honor to work full time, pro-bono for a cause that is so near and dear to my heart.

Thanks to an amazing board of directors, our dedicated nursing interns, talented dermatologists, a strong group of volunteers and an incredibly supportive community we have been able to achieve many great things and our work has only just begun!

The Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation (PDMFF) funds research, raises awareness and educates the community about melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Here’s what we’ve done in the last year with donations from our generous community

  • Funded melanoma research for two Duke medical students
  • Screened over 550 patients for skin cancer, identifying skin cancer in 15%
  • Launched the Shade Shuttle, our mobile skin screening bus
  • Educated over 400,000 people worldwide online and in person
  • Attended over 50 awareness events providing education, free sunscreen, UV bracelets and educational material
  • Produced three educational videos
  • Installed sunscreens dispensers in local communities

The Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation is an active member of the Melanoma Action Coalition and Tracy serves as a member of the Steering Committee as well as the Chair of the Patient Outreach/Advocacy Committee.

The Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation works closely with the Melanoma Research Alliance and Tracy serves as a patient advocate on the Melanoma Exchange patient forum.

The team at PDMMF is hard at work planning the 2019 Taste For a Cure Gala to be held April 29 in Raleigh. Tickets will go on sale soon….stay tuned!

Our success is a result of your support! The future is bright in this fight against melanoma.

Much gratitude

Tracy

The post Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation turns 3!! appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Skin cancer survivor and Miss Greenville 2018 Macken’z Smith actually knows quite a bit about skin cancer. She first learned about skin cancer from her family – her father, grandmother, and grandfather all had it. Because of her family history, she had her first mole screening at age 12.

In middle school, while other kids were worrying about algebra tests and trying to remember their locker combinations, Smith was dealing with a very different reality. Her doctor took a sample of a suspicious mole. Smith remembers her mother getting the test results on a phone call, and telling her that she had basal cell carcinoma. It was a frightening diagnosis for a young girl.

She had treatment for cancer then, and she’s had some recurrences. She has had subsequent surgeries to remove cancer. Due to her history of skin cancer, she has follow up screenings every 6 months. These experiences have made her always aware of sun exposure, even when she’s in the shade.

A Chance to Make a Difference

Pageant contestants have platforms– an issue or cause that they champion throughout their reign. Smith’s platform is skin cancer prevention and awareness. As part of her platform, Smith’s goal is to install sunscreen dispensers at parks and playgrounds. She placed her first sunscreen dispenser at Northside Park Imagination Fun Station in her hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi, and she hopes to place more dispensers around the state. She wants to cover school playgrounds to provide sun protection for children at recess.

Smith’s platform has also led her to promote Mississippi Senate Bill 2213 (2017), which would prohibit tanning bed use by people under age 18. Current Mississippi law allows children as young as 14 to use tanning beds. “Young teenagers aren’t thinking about the potential harm from tanning,” Smith says. “If I hadn’t already had skin cancer at that age, I might have wanted to try it.”

Unfortunately, MS Senate Bill 2213 didn’t get out of committee in 2017. Smith would like to see senators reintroduce and pass the bill. This law could make a significant difference in skin cancer rates in Mississippi. Avoiding tanning – especially from tanning beds – is a key component of melanoma prevention. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%).”

A Creative Way to Increase Awareness

Smith also plans to write a children’s book to introduce young readers to the importance of sunscreen use and sun awareness based on pigs.

Yes, you read that right. Turns out that pigs can get sunburned, just like people. Smith figures children enjoy reading about animals, and this would make the message of sun protection more memorable. Even children can be made aware of how to be safer in the sun.

More Than a Platform

Ultimately, skin cancer awareness and prevention isn’t just a platform for Smith, it’s how she lives her life. Smith says, “I want everyone to be aware of the risks and to know how to protect themselves.”

If you’d like to keep up with Macken’z Smith via social media, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

The post What Does a Beauty Queen Know About Skin Cancer? Meet Survivor Macken’z Smith appeared first on Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview