Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Conference with the American Academy of Dermatology

If you recall last year (2013), the American Academy of Dermatology ran a promotion to raise skin cancer awareness.  This was all well and good, but they encouraged everyone to wear orange on Melanoma Monday.  Ouch…that upset a lot of melanoma warriors and worriers who have embraced black as the color (note that “melanoma” literally translates to “black tumor”).  The melanoma community was outraged and the focus of the month unfortunately became a war of colors rather than a campaign for awareness. 

Orange is the New Pink...not quite the same

The AAD eventually stated that they would promise to involve the melanoma community when planning the 2014 campaign.  I think many of us, including me, thought that this would never happen.

We were wrong.

Many of us who voiced our concerns were contacted by the AAD to attend an online conference call to learn of the Academy’s plans for 2014.  Those in attendance were me, Brad Gill, Rev. Carol, Catherine Poole, Chelsea Pr…er…Dawson, Rich McDonald, Robin Lawrence, Samantha Guild, Susan Hayes, Timna Understein, and Donna Regen…along with many others who simply listened in on the phone.  Melanie Tolley (Senior Director of Integrated Communications) and Missy Lundberg (Associate Director or Public Relations and Public Education) did the talking, and they had great things to share.

Once again, the AAD will run their SPOT Skin Cancer campaign in May (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness) which will include reminders how to protect, detect and live with regards to skin cancer.  Their key message will be on learning how to spot skin cancer.  Their website at will provide information on how to perform a self skin exam, how to find free skin screenings in your area, provide a mile map to map your body, and teach the ABCDEs of melanoma.  Wait…melanoma? Yes!  That’s the exciting news…

May 5 will be Melanoma Monday...with the emphasis on the color black!  (No orange…except for the cool UV detecting bracelets that might be available).  And not only will they recognize melanoma on May 5, they plan to devote that entire week on melanoma awareness!  Although all attendees were in their own houses across the country, I could almost hear a collective cheer.  They will be flooding Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest with posts and links about melanoma awareness.  Make sure you stay tunes for more when the time comes!

This was an incredible experience!  Not only is the AAD, a major player in skin cancer (we can’t forget “regular” skin cancer…it can be serious, too) about to launch a major melanoma awareness campaign, their acknowledgement of this needs proves that we as a grassroots campaign are being heard!  Every person listed above has a presence online, whether in a blog, or Facebook or whatever.  Me personally, I just sit in my bonus room late at night in my PJs (sorry for the image) looking for important links regarding melanoma and sun safety.  Occasionally I share my personal thoughts in a blog (like now).  But I’ve been heard.  The Hotel Melanoma has been heard.  People are Respecting the Rays.  The Melanoma Prayer Center is rising.  We are making a difference…because you, the readers, are sharing our posts, links and thoughts.  Thank YOU.

And thank you to the American Academy of Dermatology.  Together, we WILL beat melanoma!