It all started with a small idea. Last fall while in bed recovering from a wide excision my dear friend Gena was texting me, providing me with laughs and comfort. Gena was in the process of building a beautiful barn and event venue on her farm. She said to me, “you should have a big party at the barn once you get through this. We could celebrate that you beat Melanoma while raising money for this great cause”. That was when the seed was planted and the forest began to grow!!
Fast forward to now. After months of hard work I am very proud and humbled to share that I have filed for 501 c (3) non-profit status for the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation Inc (PDDMF). I had the honor of being appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the PDMMF. I am incredibly excited about our newly appointed Board of Directors and together I am certain that we will accomplish great things.
Mission: The Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation funds research, raises awareness, and educates the community about melanoma-the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Vision: Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation, Inc.’s vision is to:
- reduce the incidence of melanoma by raising awareness
- encourage prevention with an emphasis on middle and high school age children
- improve the early detection, rapid diagnosis, and effective treatment of melanoma
- invest in scientific research that ultimately will result in a cure for melanoma.
In addition to filing for non-profit status months of behind the scenes planning has been taking place for our inaugural “Taste for a Cure: Chef’s Gala Benefiting Melanoma Research” on May 1, 2016. Thanks to the generous donation made by Gena and John Stevens this premiere event will take place at Carlee Farm in Oxford, NC in a rustic barn setting. Local renowned chefs will present a five course farm-to-table feast showcasing local ingredients, and inventive preparations. Hand selected wines will complement each course. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour and silent auction. After dinner there will be live music and a featured guest speaker. We now have a team of seven volunteers (and growing) hard at work organizing and planning this one of a kind event. I am beyond excited to share with you our Taste For a Cure website http://tasteforacuregala.com designed by our amazing Creative Director, Lucia Riley.
The net proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), which seeks to end suffering and death due to melanoma. MRA is the largest private funder of melanoma research and has provided more than $67 million in research grants all around the world. MRA funds innovative research to improve the prevention and diagnosis of this disease and to advance effective cures for all patients. Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation is proud to be a non-profit ally of the MRA.
I have learned so much about myself during the last several months. I have learned that I am stronger then I believed, I am more determined then ever and I have an amazing support system of people who believe in me even when I doubt myself. When I was first diagnosed with Melanoma in August of 2013 I never could have imagined what an incredible journey I would begin.
Thank you to my amazing friends and family for all of their love and support. I am excited for all that is to come!!