This week, we’re featuring a guest post from Tracy Callahan, who founded and leads the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation.
My name is Tracy Callahan and I am the Founder and CEO of the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation established in 2015.
I was first diagnosed with early stage melanoma at the age of 38, and by age 40, I had been diagnosed two more times. I am the Mom of two amazing boys ages 8 and 10 and they nicknamed me the “Polka Dot Mama” because of my many moles. I consider myself fortunate that my melanomas were caught early. I know that this is not the case for many.
As a former research nurse, I knew and understood the importance of supporting and funding research. After my third diagnosis I decided to start blogging. I knew that I wanted to use my voice to raise awareness for this often unspoken about cancer. Soon after starting my blog, I reached out to the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA). I knew right away that I wanted to align myself with them and work towards raising money for much needed melanoma research.
In March of 2015, I began planning a Gala. I knew that I wanted it to not only benefit melanoma research, but I also wanted to stay committed to keeping it locally sourced. In addition to being a melanoma advocate, I am also a foodie!
On May 1, 2016, we will host our first annual “Taste For a Cure: Chef’s Gala Benefiting Melanoma Research.” This unique farm-to-table gala will raise money to be donated to the MRA. We have been overwhelmed with the support of our local community. It has been incredible to see local chefs, businesses and sponsors donating their time, talent and services to help us raise as much money as possible. As of February 4 (World Cancer Day) our event is officially SOLD OUT!
In addition to the Gala, the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation has been working with a local media company and has begun production on public service announcements as well as an awareness video that will debut at the Gala. We have been collaborating with multiple grass roots melanoma moundations across the country in hopes that together we can have a larger impact.
So many advancements have been made with the treatment options for melanoma in the last few years. It is my strong belief that we are on the cusp of not only finding more effective treatments, but also a cure. The MRA is the largest private funder of melanoma research and I am truly honored to be a charitable ally of theirs.