A diverse group of people stand together in support of each other around a woman speaking into a microphone.

Skin Cancer Awareness and Making a Difference in the Community

A while ago, I attended a movie called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys. It was a lovely tale of forgiveness and redemption as a result of the interaction between Mister Fred Rogers and a troubled, angry man. I was excited to go for many reasons. I was in a couple of scenes in the film (although one scene hit the cutting room floor) and really wanted to see how everything played out. Most importantly, I wanted to see how the movie would portray the whole idea of “neighborliness” in a community context, essentially answering the age-old questions, "who are my neighbors?" and "what does it mean to be kind to and love them?"

The value of community

I wasn’t disappointed. I will leave the rest of the movie review for others. Essentially, the film confirmed the idea that caring for our community means being empathetic and being a good listener. Our neighbors are those with whom we have contact and share spheres of influence.

Standing up and speaking out against melanoma

Since my original melanoma diagnosis thirty-one years ago, I have felt that it was part of my calling to empathize with and advocate for others in matters of skin cancer. Whether this meant lobbying with my senators, speaking to civic groups, talking with a friend, or writing my thoughts for public consumption, I have always wanted to speak up.

Rivals turned neighbors for the day

Seems others are finding ways to reach their neighbors, too. During the "Big Game," Ohio State takes on the University of Michigan, which is probably the most heated college football rivalry in America, though I’m sure that Alabama and Auburn fans would take exception. Back in 2019, while over 100,000 rabid fans of both schools filled Michigan Stadium to cheer on their favorite team, the real battle was being fought near the field.

Tailgating for a cure

One community group found a way to capitalize on the annual event to raise money and awareness for melanoma research through the 5th Annual Tailgate to Tackle Melanoma at Lucky’s Market in Ann Arbor. This event, organized yearly by Dr. Scott McLean from the University of Michigan, serves great food, drinks and raffles off prizes. Donations, in the form of tickets, go to fund research to beat melanoma (the real enemy).

Finding your voice

I love this. Finding a creative way to engage the community in the skin cancer battle is a neighborly thing to do. What about you? How can you be involved in raising awareness and funding for research? What current events can you join in creative ways? What can you start from scratch?

We're in this fight together

You don’t have to do this alone. Find other neighbors who share our mutual concern for safe skin care practices, effective treatments, and empathetic listening. It’s a beautiful thing when we come together and support each other.

What are your ideas?

We don’t have to wear red, zippered-up cardigans to do this (although, it’s ok to do so). We just have to want to pull together to make a difference in our community. I challenge you to find your neighborly voice this holiday season to beat melanoma. This is a battle we must win and stand as one team. What are you ideas? Here are a couple of mine:

  • Bake/hot chocolate sales
  • Walkathons
  • Garage sales
  • Social/broadcast media

What are your ideas to engage the community and bring awareness to the battle against skin cancer? Tell us in the comments!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

How well was your skin cancer diagnosis explained to you?