Monday, February 27, 2012

Real Ugly

I just wrote a blog of which I wasn’t very proud, so I decided not to publish it.  Within it, I suggested that the best “celebrity endorsement” for melanoma awareness would be a melanoma-diagnosed member of the Jersey Shore.  I have to say, as much as their blatant disregard towards tanning dangers infuriates me, I really can’t honestly wish melanoma upon anyone.  Not even them.
But the fact remains that melanoma awareness could use a celebrity face.  Anderson Cooper recently appeared in a PSA for the organization “Out Run the Sun.”  Otherwise, I can’t think of any other celebrity voices towards our cause.
There have been famous melanoma survivors in the past.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator John McCain, Troy Aikman and other come to mind.  Those that have passed away from the black cancer have included Bob Marley, Burgess Meredith and Maureen Reagan.  Unfortunately, none of these celebrities would garner the attention of the young tanners out there.  Young adults simply connect more with pop culture cartoon characters like…well...the Jersey Shore.
However, reality shows (like the Jersey Shore) are all the entertainment rage, so perhaps it’s reality that needs to be presented.  Recent PSAs such as “Dear 16 Year Old Me” and the one mentioned above have done a fine job, but they also show attractive and seemingly unaffected people.  (I know they're affected, just hear me out.)  Don’t get me wrong, “Dear 16” is the benchmark of all PSAs…it’s an incredible, emotional and informative piece of work.  But I have to wonder if the true ugliness of melanoma is being conveyed well enough through these PSAs to those that need to discover it. 
The more recent anti-smoking campaigns are rather shocking.   They’re “in your face” and rather disturbing at times, but I have to think they’re effective.  I’m not proposing that melanoma awareness ads become a scar-filled scare tactic, but I do think a little bit of reality needs to be added to the message.
I’m not sure the best way to do this.  Maybe melanoma awareness doesn’t need a celebrity face after all.  Celebrities are beautiful people from which an ugly message might not be effectively conveyed.  The real message that needs to be shared is that people with melanoma are beautiful...melanoma is ugly. 


  1. I agree with you...on shows like Jersey Shore they need to show how to be safe in the sun. The young kids out there need to 1. be aware of the dangers of the sun and 2. know that they don't need a tan to be beautiful. I lost my 25 year old son to this insidious disease 9 months ago, he was never a lay out and get tan kinda guy, and when he was young we used sunscreen, but he did lifeguard one summer and got quite burnt. I am personnally writing to our congress woman to try to get a bill introduced to include skin cancer awareness in the D.A.R.E. program and at the junior and high school level have it included in health class.

  2. Great post, Al. I agree that melanoma could use a celebrity face. Sadly, it will take an advanced melanoma diagnosis from a big name to cause any huge media attention. I don't wish melanoma on anyone, obviously, but I don't see how else the media will be motivated to promote awareness in the way that only the social media can do.

  3. Hello...

    I've been searching around the internet tonight. A very dear friend of mine learned last week that her husband has metastatic melanoma. They have 4 sons, 3 of whom have type 1 diabetes.

    We connected via our blogs about 3 years ago, because we both have kids with's blossomed into a beautiful friendship...and I'm heartbroken over the news.

    Anyway, we're praying for a miracle. This Sunday we're asking people to pray and fast on behalf of Ryan.

    You can read her story here...

    I feel like I'm on this journey with her. Trying to find resources and places where she can connect once this initial phase of auto-pilot shuts off. Anyway, thank for your blog.

    God bless.