Thank you for reading my Go Fund Me Page. I am beyond excited to be back running the Boston Marathon, and to be representing IMPACT Melanoma’s Team Running For Cover. Ironically, I have been running my whole life, growing up with three athletic Irish brothers it was a way of life, and a means of survival! Ha! I ran both in Junior and Senior High School, completing my first Boston marathon my Senior year, a day before my 18th birthday. Later in Nursing school I would meet up with my now husband Greg across town at WPI to run together after a long day of stressful clinicals. And later pushing a jogger stroller to share my love of running with our growing family.
Fast forward to July 2007 while training for a Sprint Distance Triathlon, after having an evolving mole on my left ankle biopsied, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Melanoma. Completing the Tri w/ several stitches, I soon began the long process of wide excisions, Sentinel lymph node biopsies, additional 16 lymph node excision, invasive surgery to repair a leaking lymph vessel, 3 months on crutches, removal of a second mole on my right shin, diagnosed to be Stage 1 Melanoma, followed by a month of 5 days per week Immunotherapy via infusion, then 11 months of self-injected Interferon x 3 days /week at home. As a result, it was 12 months of feeling like having the Super-flu, weight loss, body aches, hair loss, fatigue and fevers. Lucky for me I had an amazing support system, my husband and 4 children, our youngest twins were only 8 years old at the time. Fighting back with a team approach, we are forever grateful to the support and love of all those that came forward to help us in any way they could with meals, rides to practices, and child care so Greg and I could attend appointments, repetitive scans every 6 months, and treatments.
It was during this turbulent time of the unknown, stage III Melanoma has a 5-year survival rate of 78%, and a 10-year survival rate of 68%, that we were introduced to what was then the Melanoma Foundation of New England, now IMPACT Melanoma. Thru the MFNE I was connected with fellow Melanoma warriors, some who sadly are no longer on this earth, and others who, like me, continue to fight the fight. Here we found support, information, programs and amazing staff and volunteers to help guide us through this unknown journey of a Melanoma Diagnosis, and most importantly a sense of Hope, that with education, prevention and support Melanoma could be overcome. Please see below, after donating, to learn more about the amazing efforts of the now nationally involved IMPACT Melanoma.
Determined to do everything we could do on a local level, Team Earley was established, while at the same time volunteering and supporting the MFNE, Greg running a total of 10 consecutive Boston marathons (our daughter Erin also joining Team RFC in years 2013 & 2014), to raise funds and awareness for Melanoma and all those affected by this disease that knows no exceptions, and I volunteering and speaking at events such as local social groups, running clubs, IMPACT Melanoma’s Shades of Hope event, and high school classrooms, sharing my story, and manning the facial scanner as an education tool, to help instill the potential dangers of artificial tanning, and unprotected sun exposure. My goal was to also be a role model to those newly diagnosed with Melanoma.
To further do what I could to promote Melanoma prevention, and to celebrate my 5-year survivor and 50th birthday landmarks I joined Greg and Team Running For Cover, to train and fundraise for the BAA Marathon 2012, yes that was the “hot year”, (in fact both of my previous Boston Marathons have been 80 plus degrees!) This past September I celebrated 10 years of being NED, No Evidence of Disease. To celebrate this landmark, and my continued focus to beat the odds, I again have joined the Team Running For Cover in training for running, fundraising for and raising awareness of Melanoma and the continued dangers of tanning, in the April 16th, 2018 Boston Marathon. Secretly I am hoping that the third time will be the charm when it comes to heat on Marathon Monday! In chatting with Bill Rodgers recently he told me I am “due for a more comfortable race day”. Fingers crossed!
With my own history of Melanoma diagnoses, being a direct descendent of an advanced stage Melanoma survivor, and several of our children diagnosed with severely dysplastic nevi, I know I am not out of the woods. I continue to be vigilant with sun safety, and bi-annual dermatology exams, most recently running a 16-mile hill training race with sutures in my shoulder where a suspect mole needed to be excised. This year I not only run to celebrate my own successes of continuing to beat the odds, I run for all those that have fought hard to overcome their own diagnosis of Melanoma, those who have been caregivers to a Melanoma, or cancer patient of any kind, all those, especially children, who need to be educated to positive, lifelong practices of Sun Safety for Life, and especially for my family who have had my back thru every step of this crazy Melanoma journey and are the inspiration for me to go out and run every day! #Winning!
Thank you for your support and donation to my Crowd Rise page!
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