By Andy Caress
I created the concept of MELA-KNOW-MORE about one year after I was diagnosed with melanoma at age 23. It quickly advanced to stage IV and my battle continues today.
My mission is to alert the world of the seriousness of Melanoma Skin Cancer and the dangers of the sun’s harmful rays, and to educate all human beings that Melanoma does not just affect the fair skinned, rather all colors and races. The ultimate goal is to wipe Melanoma off the face of the planet with awareness and early detection.
For way too long a terrible misconception has gone hand and hand with Melanoma and skin cancer in general, that it is an “easy or lucky” cancer to get. People need to KNOW that Melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer there is. It can attack and shut down major organs in the body, including the brain, lungs, bones and muscles, very quickly.
Mela-KNOW-More will be an all encompassing resource for patients, care givers and supporters. It will do the following:
- Host awareness events around the world,
- Spread the word through clothing and fashion
- Connect people in need of information and support.
- Be a place where we can memorialize and celebrate those melanoma warriors who have lost their battles.
Mela-KNOW-More will bring all of this to one place, so that our goal of ending this disease will become a reality.
What I intend with my clothing designs and events is that they will change the world. Not only because they are fashionable and fun, but because they carry a message that will save lives.
The message of my life right now is that people should KNOW MORE about MELANOMA. My goal is that melanoma will never impact any person the way that it has impacted me, and I will achieve this goal by educating the world about how melanoma may be prevented and identified. I want people to KNOW exactly how serious melanoma is. I want people to KNOW my and others struggle with melanoma. I want people to KNOW that they can protect themselves from melanoma. I want people to KNOW the early warning signs of melanoma. I want people to KNOW that we can find a cure. Basically, I want people to Mela-KNOW-More!
Before being diagnosed when I was a 23 year old athlete, I did not protect myself from the sun as I should have, and even worse, I ignored those who advised me that I should protect myself. I had the attitude that I was invincible. I also never knew the immense dangers of tanning beds. I was a college tennis player, tennis pro and an avid outdoorsman who hiked, biked, triathlon, and snow skied at every opportunity. I did not understand that I was threatening my life when I went outside and did not wear sunscreen. I was 23 and figured I was way too young to worry about cancer. I have no family history of Melanoma and sadly, like many young people, I thought that having a tan was attractive and healthy looking. But you should KNOW that this is wrong.
You must Mela-KNOW-More. The clothes we sell through Mela-KNOW-More will teach that people are truly attractive and beautiful when they are healthy and protected from the sun. My clothes carry a message that we are beautiful in our natural colors. Just wait until you see the catchy and fun tags that will cover my clothes. Just wait until you see what we can do when we all Mela-KNOW-More!
I would like to invite you to be my co-founder in Mela-KNOW-More. Through a blog, Mela-KNOW-More will also allow you to follow my life as a melanoma warrior, as I battle and survive melanoma. Mela-KNOW-More will also be a place where we can memorialize and celebrate those Melanoma Warriors who have lost their battles. Mela-KNOW-More will bring all of this to one place, so that my goal of ending this disease will become a reality.