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