Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Someone Will Hear You

There are days when I have to wonder if anyone is listening to my rants and thoughts regarding Melanoma Awareness, and there are days when I know that steps are being made in the right direction.  This week had both.
A few days ago, a lady made a comment on one of my Facebook photos.  The picture showed my first BITNP prototype t-shirt, and hers was one of many varying comments.  This comment stood out in that she mentioned that she had a t-shirt graphics business and invited me to check out her website.  Having long neglected my t-shirt requests, I immediately visited the site.
I won’t mention the name of the business…if you really want to look it up, go dig in my Facebook page.  But the gist of the business’ name was “Acme Printing and Tanning.”  Yes…you read the second part correctly.  She not only was in the business of printing t-shirts, she also owns two tanning beds!  To her credit, she stated that they run the tanning salon with strict rules and allow no one under 18 to use the equipment.  I told her that while I support the right for adults to visit a tanning bed, I couldn’t condone the act, thus cited a conflict of interest for doing business with her.  And while our “business” correspondence was cordial, I couldn’t help but wonder if she even read the content of my FB page.  And if she did, does that mean my message isn’t getting through?
Today, I attended a local annual tradeshow at which my company and I participate.  It’s more of a chance to network with colleagues around the area, compare notes and just experience some decent professional fellowship.  Of course, I had met with many of the sales guys in attendance over the years, and many knew of my brother’s passing last year.  Most of the condolences had long past (which I was glad about) and it’s been business as usual for the last few months.  For those with whom I’d had lunch in the past and shared casual conversation, I most likely mentioned this BITNP blogsite and my FB page.  I never really thought much about it…it was simply small-talk between business discussions and a little chance to get the word out.
Back to today’s tradeshow, I made my rounds before the show actually started to visit with a few of my closer colleagues.  Most exhibits had bowls full of candy, a stack of brochures, and some trinket like a pen or mouse pad with their company logo.  When I approached one colleague, he and his associate were placing little bottles of lotion and hand sanitizer on the table.  After the handshake, he smiled broadly and said, “Well, what do you think?”  I joked that he should stick with selling printed circuit boards rather than get into the lotion business  when he told me to take a closer look.  It was hand lotion…and as I read the label, he said, “I thought of you as we picked this out…it’s SPF 30.”  He went on to describe to his associate that my past conversations inspired him to get checked recently (he had “a spot” removed…nothing serious he said) and mentioned this blog.  I couldn’t help but smile the rest of the tradeshow.
Later in the day, one of my close colleagues and friends back at my workplace called me.  She just left the dermatologist and gave me a report.  She has very light-toned skin and freckles, so she was a little worried.  She’s probably one of my biggest offline supporters (and a regular reader of this blog), so I was relieved that she had a clear check…and happy that she visited my same dermatologist.  (How she was able to get an appointment within a week is beyond my comprehension).  She thanked me for inspiring her to visit the dermatologist… and I thanked her for getting checked.
I’m not posting these stories to toot my own horn…but to inspire you to do the same.  You might encounter a few (or many) people that just don’t seem to get it.  But before you realize it, people DO get it.  People may not always seem to listen…but they hear.  And hearing the message requires that someone deliver the message.  So please…wear your sunscreen, get yourself checked if you haven’t and deliver the message!  Someone will hear you.


  1. Reminds me of a short passage in Romans, but one sentence is, "How will they hear if no one tells them?" Same applies here. We've got to tell them. Thanks Al and great job! You really made quite an impact on that salesman.

    I haven't had anyone tell me they had melanomas removed, but many have told me they've gone to derms for checks and mole removals because they don't want to copy me, which is good. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" has its limits.

    Great post. Keep smiling!

  2. we do read your blog... and love everything you have done to raise awareness to this awful disease. if each of us affected share our stories some will listen... some wont... but focus on those that do. and like carol said "keep smiling" you ARE making a difference!

  3. This is AWESOME!!!!! You most definetely do get you toot your own horn!!! Any step is a step in the right direction.