In Memory of Nicholas

My story begins in 1993. My husband was diagnosed with melanoma. He has actually had 3 melanoma surgeries in his life so far and has been fortunate so far. Not so for our son Nicholas.

Nicholas was first diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 20, he was a college sophomore. Prior to being diagnosed, he was your typical athletic young man. He was all about sports. Since the age of 5 beginning with T-ball. On up until his sophomore year of college as an offensive lineman. He played most sports, T-ball, baseball, soccer, basketball, shot put discuss, and football. Most days he spent outside in the sun. He had at least 2-3 bad sunburns in his life. We always preached sunscreen use, but there were times he didn’t reapply.

When Nick was 23, we found out that his melanoma had spread, to his liver, lungs, ribcage, pelvis, and right femur. He began immunotherapy drugs and had some intense side effects. The drugs were working though because his tumor count went done dramatically. Our happiness was short lived, because weeks after we got that news, his headaches began. He started seeing colored spots and having seizures. They discovered 4 inoperable brain tumors. Along with that he had evidence of the disease spreading to the spinal fluid surrounding the brain. Leptomeningeal metastasis. After undergoing 20 rounds of whole brain radiation along with Opdivo Yervoy, it was too much. He collapsed in our bedroom. Emergency brain surgery was done to relieve the pressure on his brain, he asked to come home. He passed away on home hospice 12 weeks later on November 29, 2016 at the age of 24.

I am now a Chairperson of melanoma awareness and education of a local non-profit organization. I share my son’s memory to local high school students because I made a promise to my son to reach out to save others.

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