Telling YOUR Story
I remember the very instant that it hit me. I was in Albany, New York, sitting in front of New York State Senator, Patrick Gallivan. I was part of a lobbying team where I shared my story about the dangers of tanning beds. I shared my fears, my hopes, and my dreams. I shared my skin cancer story and it felt right. It felt right because it was serving a good purpose in my mind, and my bad experience with melanoma was being flipped into being positive. At that moment, I became an evangelist for skincare.
My story, YOUR story
If my story ends here, then I feel that I have failed. I can only reach out to so many people. I am limited by time, space, energy, and frankly, those around me can only take so much of me (ha!). But, if I can help mobilize an army of others who tell their stories, then we are talking! It's one thing for me to speak up, but it's an entirely different thing if everyone who reads this finds their voice as well.
Advertisers know the effectiveness of what is called "Word-Of-Mouth" recommendations. Hearing about a product or service from a trusted source goes a long way in marketing efforts. In the same, you have a sphere of influence that will trust and listen to you. YOUR story matters.
The most important question
Before I began to tell my story, I had to answer one very important question: "why?". I had to have a compelling reason for what motivated me to tell my story. Once I was able to answer that question, then the rest just became details.
My "why?" may be similar or different than yours. I tell my story because I want to save lives, I want to help others, I want to give back, I want to make a difference. Maybe some of this is tied up in needing to feel needed, or maybe I just want to be a good guy-- I don't know, but that is my "why?". For more thoughts on this, see this video.
How do I share my skin cancer story?
Once you have the right question answered, you are ready to roll. So, how do you share your skin cancer story? With the advent of the computer and the Internet, you may share your story in a thousand different ways. Whether be in the form of a blog post, a comment on a website, or on social media-- getting the word out is easier than ever. Old school ways still work. A letter to the editor, calling in on a radio show can be effective platforms.
However, the time-honored method of face-to-face interaction is still best. Talk to a friend or family member. Speak up at the PTA meeting. Find your voice at a community or church group. Speak to a state senator. Finding your voice can take you in a million different directions and that's part of the great fun of it.
What do I say?
"Yeah, Scott, that's great, but what do I say?" Well, talk about your diagnosis or your prognosis. Talk about ways to protect oneself from the sun. Support others who are going through treatment. Honor those who have passed away. Help others find their voices. Help them tell their stories. Pass it on. The "what?" is endless (hence, my 30-ish articles on the Skincancer.net site). If you are stuck, contact me through the website. I will help you.
When should I start?
How well have your skin cancer diagnoses been explained to you?