Erika Lynan had a mole on her left arm several years ago. After it became asymmetric, she saw a dermatologist who performed a biopsy. It was low-stage melanoma. Her mole and the surrounding area were excised with clear margins and all seemed well.
A few months ago, Erika, a 43-year old single mother of 3, had flu-like symptoms. She visited her doctor in Alabama and it was discovered that her melanoma had returned. Stage 4. Her marrow, her brain…her melanoma seemed to have metastasized everywhere. Her situation can be considered challenging at best. Erika has a hard fight before her.
Her sister Mary lives in Raleigh, NC. After emotionally “dealing with” Erika’s diagnosis, Mary felt she had to do something...anything...but wasn't sure how from so many miles away. Her husband encouraged her to seek the support of her family…her Raleigh family.
Mary tends bar at the Backyard Bistro in Raleigh. In the shadow of both the PNC Arena (home of NC State basketball and Carolina Hurricanes hockey) and Carter Finley Stadium (NC State football), the restaurant/bar is a popular gathering place for the NC State Wolfpack Club and pre-game crowds. Sports aside, the management reached out to Mary and offered to organize a fund-raiser for Erika.
In three short weeks, they called their key contacts (including Wolfpack Club rep Bob Bell) and arranged fantastic raffle prizes and silent auction items to raise funds. They provided a catered lunch of BBQ and low-country crayfish while music was provided by The Magic Pipers. And magic indeed was the event.
Well over 100 people attended the event and quite a bit of money was raised from the aforementioned raffle and auction. Signed hockey jerseys and posters, rounds of golf, original artwork…many incredible prizes were claimed…with all proceeds going to Mary’s sister.
I have attended a hand full of melanoma awareness/fund-raising events and have been touched by the magic of each. People from all walks of life show up to these events, and today’s event proved no different. And what was most magical was that some walked away more aware…knowing to be more diligent in the sun and realizing they should make annual appointments to see their dermatologist.
Below are some photos of the event, but the true aura of this and many events simply cannot be captured on film. I encourage all of you to seek out a local event and attend. Whether it be a 5K walk, a pub crawl, a golf tourney, or whatever…attend and be enlightened. Today’s event will prove to do good for Mary and Erika…and it proved to be good for me as well.
(A personal note to those I met at the event…I hope I got all the names and spelling right. Also, thank you! Also, please feel free to contact me at my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org ...especially about the upcoming Miles Against Melanoma Walk in Apex in October. And Tom…I’ll see you at the (WVU) tailgate party you won…J)
I loved this...serving some brews and offering up sunscreen!
See! They really did have sunscreen...and people were applying it!
Folks were offering up donations while grabbing info on skin cancer.
Info from the AAD was posted all over...
...and additional reminders were everywhere you looked...
...and where ever you walked!
Black ribbons were handed out...I love this saying, "Stick it to cancer!"
Good food (BBQ and low-country boil)
Good prizes (Go Canes!)
And a Great Team!