Research. Educate. Advocate.

To support medical RESEARCH for finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma. To EDUCATE patients and physicians about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. To act as an ADVOCATE for the melanoma community to raise the awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma.

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Josh's Story

About a year ago, I thought I was going to lose my health insurance due to low hours at the restaurant where I work while I pursue my comedy and acting career.  I made all my doctor appointments to get a clean bill of health just in case I did lose my insurance.  I hadn't been to my dermatologist for 4 years.  Before I went, I noticed a small mole on my chest, no bigger than any other beauty mark or mole I have all over my body, but this one had a bit of red in it, and it just looked a bit odd to me.  So, I said to myself I would ask my doctor about it. He took a biopsy of it and called me back and told me to come in right away because it came back as a melanoma.  I was very scared.  He told me to call my mom and anyone else who I wanted to come in and help support me during the operation they had to perform right away.  I taught an acting workshop in a public school in Jersey City and then drove straight to my doctor, where he performed the operation.  My mom and my brother came in with me and helped talk me through.  Being a comedian, my family always has laughter as a main ingredient for any situation, but the laughs were tough that day.  Although one funny thing was happening during my operation, It seemed like every nurse in the place heard about my nervousness, and came in to talk to me during the operation. It was a very small room, and everybody was packed in so tight it was like the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers movie  "A Night at the Opera".  I was shaking like Don Knotts, I was so worried.  But the operation was a success, and I now have a big scar on my chest, but I am so very lucky.  My doctor said I found it very early, but if I had waited just 3 months more, I wouldn't be writing this story now.  I couldn't believe it.  I had no idea melanoma could kill that fast and silently.  I was scared and nervous for about a month, but then I started to get better, and I go to see my dermatologist every 3 months, and my oncologist every 4 and I haven't had any more melanomas since. Sure, he takes a little bit of me here and there, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I'm 35 years old now and I plan to live to be at least one hundred.  I put on sunblock when I go outside, and if I plan on being out for long hikes or bike rides, I also wear a hat, sunglasses, and SPF clothing.  I still get nervous every once in a while, and when I do, I find some shade, and it subsides.  I met my girlfriend a few months after that and we are planing on getting married soon.  It was a very scary year, but also one that was filled with joy and happiness.  I am so very fortunate to have been a part of a little twist of fate that saved my life.  I wouldn't have gone if I didn't think I was losing my health insurance.  It was just on a whim that I made that appointment and just happened to see a little speck that could have killed me.  So, I have to make some minor living adjustments, like sunblock and clothing issues, but I am one of the lucky ones. When anyone asks, "Why are you wearing that hat?" or  "Why are you putting on sunblock?"  I tell them my story.  Hopefully they will go see a dermatologist every year, it's a good idea.  Then maybe they can avoid this very dangerous killer, and be as lucky and thankful as me.  I love this life and this world, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.