Dear 16-year-old me


Denny’s Challenge 5k, a Miles for Melanoma Run/Walk

Denny’s Challenge 5k, a Miles for Melanoma Run/Walk.

I’ve set up a fund raising page through this 5K for Melanoma that will be taking place in July.  The event is located here in Cary, NC and myself, Mary, and other friends will be participating.

This is a pretty elementary way of raising money for a deadly cancer that has changed our lives forever.  And it’s fairly easy to make your mark and donate whatever you can to help Melanoma research.

I’ll share a quick story to communicate the importance of this from our perspective.

About a week and half after my lymph node dissection late February 2010, I went to UNC to meet with my surgical oncologist and finally get my drains removed from under both of my arms.  The fact that those smelly uncomfortable drains would forever be removed from my body was a relief to say the least.  I walked out of that office feeling a bit free. But that feeling was only short lived.

Minutes later, my pregnant wife and I would walk across the hall and meet my medical oncologist, who would be meeting with us to discuss my stage, percentages, and of course my plan of treatment.   Minutes later we learned the severity of my staging and the seriousness of Melanoma.

We learned that my cancer had an 80% to come back and I had a 27% chance to live 10 more years.  We learned that I was going to be going through 12 straight months of intense Interferon treatment that was going to make me feel miserable, but this treatment only decreased that chance of recurrence by 10%.  “That’s all we have for Melanoma at this point,” our oncologist verbalized with a disappointed voice.  Opinions even point some to avoid the treatment all together because they label it worthless.  I told them to give me whatever they had and I’d deal with it.

I know cancer as a whole is still a lion in the medical field that billions of people worldwide are trying to tackle.  But within that lion is Melanoma, which is a deadly bear on its own. The casual attitude which millions approach Melanoma is scary.

Melanoma research really hits home in the Norton household to say the least.  And I know it effects millions of others.  Just a small way we can all chip in and help out.

Striving for Him,