A few weeks ago, I received a request on my Facebook timeline to inform others of a memorial walk benefitting the Melanoma Research Foundation. A couple of days later, I received another request for the same walk. What Judy and Kim didn’t realize was that this walk is to be held in the very town in which I live! How could I not offer to be somehow involved?
The Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk is in honor of two beautiful young women who sadly succumbed to Melanoma. In short, each young woman was diagnosed with melanoma too early in life (then again, ANY time is too early…isn’t it?). They each embraced life and fought off the beast as best they could, but ultimately donned their wings to direct the battle from above. That’s where the real miracle of this event begins. You see, while both attended East Carolina University, and both may have passed one another in the halls of the Duke University Hospital, they never met here on earth. Both their parents did, at a Compassionate Friends meeting in September of 2010 where each sought answers and solace with others who experienced the same type of loss.
An immediate bond formed between the two couples and the Memorial Walk started to take shape. In fact, the first such walk took place about a year later. The walk was to benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation, but because of the apparent small nature of the event, many didn’t have hope that much money would be raised. Amanda and Corey’s parents did. While the MRF established a goal of $10,000, the first annual walk raised a whopping $28,000!
This year’s walk is scheduled in Apex, NC on October 13, 2012. After I announced my close proximity to Kim and Judy, they invited me to a planning meeting this past week. As I’ve stated here before, I’m pretty shy away from the keyboard, but I made time to attend and meet these amazing people. Both Amanda’s parents and Corey’s parents were there, as were a few more friends and family.
I won’t get into all the details, but I can say that what I witnessed wasn’t a stern meeting to discuss logistics and financials. Those items were discussed, but the atmosphere was that of a gathering of friends and family. There was laughter…lots of laughter…and genuine compassion for the cause. Many times, a discussion was interrupted as someone would convey a story of how others were touched or affected by Amanda or Corey’s story. I’ve never met these folks before, but even I sensed that the two honored girls were sitting at the same table, eating Subway sandwiches and sharing the same laughter. This wasn’t a committee…this was a family. Such a family passionate that one member gave me one of the biggest bear hugs I’ve ever had!
But business did get done. The course and logistics were discussed as were the raffle prizes. It was announced that the numbers of registrants was low at this time, but this was not unlike a year ago when the majority of walkers signed up in the last week. Amanda’s father was optimistic, but commented that while they’d love to exceed last year’s number of walkers and donations they’d be happy as long as one person became more aware. And I believed him. More than once, he stated a fact about melanoma and he’d follow up with “and people still don’t get it.”
He’s right. But these people do.
So what’s my involvement? Right now, it’s to tell you about it…and ask that you spread the word. Yes, many of us are gung ho on attending the AIM Walk in Charlotte in November, and that hasn’t changed for me. But I’d like to ask that you spread the word of this event as well.
I believe they’ll be having an online auction as well as the aforementioned raffle during the event, so you can most definitely help there! I would love it if some folks in the melanoma community could donate an item to raffle. I’ll be pitching in a BITNP T-shirt and coffee mug, and I’d love to make an entire “Molemate” gift pack to raffle or auction. If you have a talent…or a product you’d care to donate, please contact me at my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or go to the contact page on the Amanda-Corey website and offer up your ideas there. Every bit of money received through this will go to the Amanda and Corey fund which benefits MRF.
Please help support this cause…and continue the fight against melanoma everywhere!