Where did Dear Melanoma come from, you ask? Surprisingly, my desire to start documenting my life with terminal melanoma was a shock to me. I always hated writing. Sure, I did well at school (slight overachiever right here), but I hated English. The amount of tears shed over English assignments was ridiculous and I had a true fear of writing that followed me to university and any workplace. Look at me now writing for a huge audience!
I guess it took me dying to lose this fear.
I was lucky enough to meet author, Rebecca Sparrow, a few weeks after I found out the cancer had spread. Straight away Bec took me under her wing and became my rock. Now I am lucky enough to call her a dear friend.
Bec encouraged me to write. She knew the reality of grief and the need to have a place where you can let go of all your emotions and not sensor your grief like I found myself doing around my family and friends.
It took me more than six months to gather enough courage to start Dear Melanoma. It was the lack of honest and genuine blogs, specifically blogs by young people, that was the final push. Although the blogs I came across were amazingly informative, they were censored. There was no talk about the darkest moments. I wanted to feel less alone regarding my feelings about terminal illness and death.
Dear Melanoma was officially launched in June 2014. What I thought would be a little blog that my family and friends would read, quickly became much more. Dear Melanoma has accumulated a large audience, but it is more than an audience – it is a community. A community of not only an amazing amount of love and support for me and my family, but for each other. The Dear Melanoma Facebook Page is a testament to this.
Most importantly, Dear Melanoma has given me strength, confidence and courage to face terminal illness head on. You can almost be guaranteed every time I sit at my computer to write a new blog post I will have tears streaming down my face, but the feeling that I get once that post is published and people start interacting with the post is simply amazing. I feel that I am making a difference and I feel that I am now alone.
Dear Melanoma has also turned into the best job (minus being paid) that I could ever have wished for myself. Beyond being an author, I have enjoyed being a speaker, advocate for melanoma patients, and fundraiser for melanoma research.
There are big things on the horizon for Dear Melanoma and I am so happy that I have you with me on this journey.