The beginning of the year brings two things, resolutions and predictions. Frankly, I’m as aware of my resolutions on July 23 as I am on January 1, so I see no real need to make a special list. (If you must know, exercise more and eat better…period). As for predictions, I have trouble knowing what I’m, having for breakfast tomorrow. Instead, I’d like to share my wish list for 2015.
I know this is a melanoma advocacy blog, so of course I wish for a cure for melanoma. We’re closer today than we’ve ever been, and we’ll be even closer tomorrow. But my wish is for multiple cures. My mother suffered from Lupus, so I wish for a cure for Lupus. She also died of Lung Cancer, so I wish for a cure for Lung Cancer. For that matter, let’s include all cancers. They all suck. My father in-law suffers from MS, so l wish for a cure for MS. I wish, simply, for cures.
This one could be deep, but in the melanoma advocacy world, I wish the world to be enlightened that UV radiation can and does cause skin cancer. Skin cancer is serious. Even the “simple” cancers such as basal cell carcinoma can be very disfiguring and scar up that precious skin of yours. But melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and it kills. I wish the world to be enlightened to this fact. But I also wish the world to understand that we’re not trying to ban fun in the sun. We simply wish the world to take precautions by wearing sunscreen, hats, sun glasses, and proper clothing.
Enlightenment can carry over into state and national legislation regarding tanning beds. I wish that legislators would understand that tanning bed bans are no more a sign of being a “nanny state” than cigarette bans. Tanning beds are not the same as the sun. They have deadly and largely unregulated consequences, much like cigarettes. I wish that all tanning beds could be banned, but more realistically for now, I wish strongly that laws be passed in all states to prevent minors from tanning in salons.
Self-Acceptance and Beauty
My son and daughter will turn 13 this year…they’ll be teenagers. I wish that they will gladly accept their own skin color and resist any temptation or peer pressure to tanning in the summer time because it’s fashionable. Every person’s skin color is their own, and part of what makes them beautiful. There’s no need to change.
I wish for more advocacy for melanoma awareness, education and research. I hope to see more PSAs from skin cancer organizations. I hope to see more effective PSAs in the US as we’ve seen from Australia. I hope to see celebrities take a stand on sun safety all year round and not just in May. I wish to see more people share their story on Facebook. Twitter, or whatever big media fad is in 2015.
I wish that elementary schools would teach sun safety so that middle school and high school students already know right from wrong. Some will choose not so wisely, but I have faith that most kids are pretty smart and will understand. But they need to be educated. I also wish that colleges would ban the use of tanning beds as amenities within student housing.
Most of all, I wish good health to all that suffer from any type of skin cancer. Sadly, many that I know or that read my Facebook page will not be around to see 2016. Fortunately, due to advances over the precious few years, a larger percentage will live to see another year. For those fighting, I wish you strength, courage and support.
Enjoy the coming year my friends. Many good things will happen!