Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Coolest Thing

So I get an email last week from a melanoma survivor named Paige Wood. The very lovely and talented Paige is a musician and is touring with the Vans Warped Tour and is working with FM World Charities towards awareness of the dangers of sun exposure (you gots to check her out on YouTube, yo). And in case you don't remember, Paige was interviewed in the Current.com "Scared of Skin Cancer" vid I posted on June 11th.
So Paige invited Katherine and I to come see her show and to check out the free skin cancer screenings they were doing. And as you know, I am ALL about the promoting of the awareness and any live music show. So this was a big treat for me.
Kat Von Bates (who did the awesome Paula's Choice Interview below), always representing Too Faced and all their good efforts to help promote all things melanoma-research related, and I both agreed that this was one of the most inspirational things we've seen in a long time as far as skin cancer awareness goes. I've got to send out big ups to not only the Vans Tour and Paige, but FM World Charities and the Mole Mate Screening Technology being used at the booths.
Let me give you a little glimpse of what was going on.
First of all, if you don't know what a huge deal this is, let me just say that Vans Warped Tour has about 30,000 people visit the event every day. Think Lollapalooza (as a wise man once said). So a skin screening booth here is maximum exposure. KVB and I spoke for a while with Eric Gast (who had a very Rick Rubin vibe to him), the founder and board chairman of FM World Charities, and he had awesome things to say about using positive media to reach people instead of scary and negative images. I had no idea about this charity, but upon closer investigation, I found that this not-for-profit organization is devoted to promoting public health in a lot of ways. What I really loved about their skin cancer screenings was that FM World Charities had the idea to help screen for common illnesses, like melanoma, during concerts and other public events so that people become aware of the danger before it becomes life threatening. According to their website, "This will be useful in two ways. It will not only increase the number of individuals being screened for these conditions but, given the age of the people usually attending these events, introduce the idea of preventative health care to a young audience. For example, the incidence of skin cancers is increasing rapidly throughout the world. A small lesion that develops when a person is 20 years of age will often be ignored for years before it becomes symptomatic and life threatening. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to avoiding these problems."
Is anyone else in love?
I just had a moment.
Plus, think about it: Melanoma has become the most common cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 29, so exposing young people to the idea of skin screenings is vitally important!
Also, I gotta say that his whole idea with using Mole Mate was to draw people in with curiosity toward the technology and process instead of fear. That's the "positive media" thing he's talking about. And the amazing part is it really works! If you don't believe me, just check out the pics taken there. These are not necessarily your typical "I'll get this mole checked out at my regular dermatologist appointment" peeps. These are everyday people, music fans and skater kids, dropping by the tent to see what's up. And that rocked my world.
So just to give you a taste of what Mole Mate technology does, here is some more info. The registration process was quick and easy with only 4 or 5 questions to get you started, as illustrated by the pic of me with my new pink hair and sweat spot on my back (it was 95 degrees out, throw me a bone here.) And the next step is just as easy- See that wand thingy pointing the guy is pointing on Kat's face? That is essentially the whole process of Mole Mate: it "is a non-invasive, rapid, and painless melanoma screening device that has been specifically designed with and for General Practitioners and skin specialists. By assisting and accelerating the diagnostic process, Mole Mate™ enables the medical professional to quickly scan and make a decision to refer a patient, excise a lesion or immediately assure them that their lesion is not suspicious." Right on the spot! How, you say, is this possible? Well, allow me to fill you in. That little wand thing takes not only an external photo of a suspicious mole, but gives a magnified dermatoscopic view of it, like so:which the doc can then look at and determine it's danger level. How friggin cool is that.

Speaking of rocking my world, Paige put on a hell of a show. Avril's got nothing on this chic. (Sorry Avril, I've seen you live. It's true.) I mean seriously. Plus she's got her heart in the game and is all about promoting the cause. Not only is she a survivor, but she lost her best friend to melanoma a few years ago, and it runs in her family, so she knows what's up. While we were chatting her up on the nice cool tour bus (where, gratefully, she let us chill for a while), one of the volunteers outside, Katie, a friend of Paige's, brought in a 16 year old that had recently been diagnosed at stage I. She had gone to get checked out after her dad had a lesion removed and sure enough, they found a suspicious mole. Paige took the time to talk with this girl and get to know her, and I was hella impressed. This is what it's all about people, putting the word out there and letting others know they're not alone and to keep up the good fight. Geez, I'm getting misty.

So big ups to everyone I contacted that pitched in for free products to everyone stopping by the free skin cancer screenings (including Neutrogena, Too Faced, Paula's Choice, Imerman Angels, I2y.org, Spot a spot and Paul Mitchell Salons and of course the amazing Skincancer.org and the amazing Melanoma International Foundation), and huge props to Katherine, Paige, FM World Charities, Vans, Mole Mate, Eric Gast, and all the volunteers who pitched in to help make this initiative possible. Party on, Wayne. Party on Garth.

-MM

5 comments:

Carver said...

This is so great to read about. You did a good job with the write up and it made my day to think about the younger people being educated in a way that they will respond too. There's no telling how many lives may be saved through early diagnosis as a result of these efforts.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thats Awesome... I miss you and want to here about this... call you in the am.
m

Anonymous said...

Lori, as usual....great blog. This was so inspirational. Thank you.

joyinperu said...

Hey girly girl! It´s good to see that you´re enjoying your summer and doing something you care about. You deserve it!

Mr. Melon said...

Kudos to FM World Charities! The one really big piss-off about my own situation is that I didn't get that mole looked at years ago. If I'd run into a "drop in and get screened" tent in my travels my life might be a lot simpler now.

Thanks for the update. Good to hear you are doing well. Me too :-)

i2y

I'm Too Young For This!