Life has been pretty hectic lately, so I was extremely surprised to read what the Rev. Carol Taylor (of the Melanoma Prayer Center) posted on my Facebook page:
“Congratulations for breaking 3000! Keep up the great work. I'm sure Jeff is beaming with pride. Blessings, Al!”
As my son would say, “Wait…whut?”
Wow! 3,000 “Likes!” Honestly, when I first started, I never thought I’d reach 100.
Back in August of 2012, less than a year ago, I reached the 1,500 mark. How I doubled my “Like count” in such a short time baffles me. To all readers…thank you!
As I’ve mentioned before, I keep a list of folks that “Like” my page. Not for stalking purposes mind you, but just to get a feel to where my words are spreading (and to satisfy my little touch of OCD). I’m happy to say that all 50 states have visited my page with North Carolinians visiting more than others. Texas, Ohio, California, and Florida round out the Top 5.
My international presence has spread to 44 countries or territories now. Citizens of Australia have visited my BITNP page more than others while Canada, England, and Italy have followed close behind.
While the numbers are impressive, they are also somewhat discouraging. Chances are that nearly all readers have been touched by melanoma in some way and were led to my page (and others) as they searched for answers. On one hand, I’m so glad they’ve liked my page and hopefully have reached out to other readers for those answers. On the other hand, I wish there was no need for answers…I wish that melanoma touched no one.
I’ve noticed periodic spikes in increased readership over the years. Not long ago, there were about 15 straight new “Likes” from Indiana. Again, thrilled to have new readers but saddened for the reason. I knew that someone these people loved was most likely directly touched by melanoma. What’s inspiring about such a spike however is that this person seems to have a strong group of supporters and loved ones. The person affected is obviously surrounded by great people.
Despite the fact that most readers are already aware of melanoma, I’d like to think that each new “Like” means someone learned something new from a link or thought shared on my page. I’d prefer not to concentrate on the number of readers, but the number of increased awareness. For that reason, I’ll continue to spend late nights searching Google and Bing for news and stories related to the fight against melanoma.
While the 3,000+ people who have “Liked” my page have all been touched by melanoma, let’s take a moment to consider how melanoma could statistically affect 3,000 average people. Current stats show that 1 out of 5 folks will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. That means out of a random 3,000 people, 600 will eventually have skin cancer! For melanoma, the statistical odds are 1 in 50. That means 60 people will be diagnosed with melanoma! That’s 60 too many!
When I first started my Facebook page, I launched it as a promotional page for my blog. I had no real plans to use it as the primary tool to spread the word about melanoma awareness. As it turned out, the page became far more effective as I have been able to link stories and articles almost daily. It has also been the main conduit to meet and associate myself with some really incredible people. I doubt I would ever have formed such a strong bond with Carol, Rich, Chelsea, Timna, Katie, and so many others through my blog alone and without my Facebook page.
Thank you again for “Liking” my Facebook page, and for reading this blog. I do this in memory of my brother Jeff, in honor of my growing children, and in awe of the amazing people who have come into my life!