Dear 16-year-old Me

Dear sixteen-year-old me Dear sixteen-year-old me Dear sixteen-year-old me Please don’t get that perm, it’s not as awesome as you think it’s gonna be You have to actually practice in order to learn to play guitar Whisky tastes even worse on the way up Dear sixteen-year-old me,
there’s going to be a new set of Star Wars movies Don’t watch them, they ruin everything Dear sixteen-year-old me This is where they took the cancer out It was something called melanoma It’s called malignant melanoma Malignant melanoma ‘Malignant,’ that’s not a very friendly word You’ll be diagnosed when you’re twenty-eight Eighteen Thirty-six Twenty-nine Twenty-two It’s a tumour that starts in your skin cells, the cells that give your hair and skin colour. It’s not just skin cancer Well, it is Well, it is But not just The cut it out and it’ll be fine kind, unfortunately It’s the kind you have to catch before it spreads Because it spreads so fast So fast To places like your liver Your lungs Your brain Yours will be a really rare kind in your left eye and that’s when you’ll find out That melanoma can show up on your tongue,
the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Your doctors will tell you you’re lucky that you caught it early Yours will tell you that you need aggressive treatment I’ll have to tell you it might take a year of chemotherapy And you’ll need to do some of the injections yourself Dear sixteen-year-old me You’re doing okay You’re strong But there are some things I want you to know I wish I’d known That one bad sunburn before you turn eighteen Doubles your chances of developing melanoma That fair skin and red hair
means that you’re at a higher risk of getting it As if ginger people didn’t have enough problems That you’re at higher risk if you’ve got more than fifty moles And if you have a weakened immune system
or family history of skin cancer I want you to know the outlook is very good if we can catch it early But you have less than a ten percent chance
of surviving more than five years if we don’t Dear sixteen-year-old me Spend more time with family, they mean everything If I had one piece of advice for you:
don’t start the tanning bed I know you want a healthy glow but it’s going to double my chances of getting melanoma Sunscreen Yes, I agree it’s a huge pain in the ass, but so worth it. Please Your skin’s like an elephant. It never forgets Dear sixteen-year-old me, helping spread this message is how you’ll honour Glenna’s memory At sixteen she’s already an incredible lifeguard, she loves the sun, and the beach, and tanning but she just doesn’t know She’ll be diagnosed when she’s twenty-two and will lose her battle when she’s just twenty-six I want you to know because it’s melanoma that’s going
to take the strongest man you know, your best friend and the love of your life Dear sixteen-year-old me Don’t be afraid, this isn’t about being afraid I want you to be aware That melanoma is a young person’s disease It is the second most common cancer in children and teenagers and one of the most common in young adults And it can be deadly I want you to know you’re not helpless This is a cancer that shows itself Right there on the outside of you Start checking your skin Please check Get to know your skin Get to know your skin Start checking your skin If a new mole shows up Or if one you have starts to change colour Or size, or shape Or feels different If something seems out of place get your doctor
to have a look as soon as possible Know what to look for and get help, these are all signs your skin could be developing cancer You brush your teeth everyday, maybe even floss Okay, we both know you don’t floss But just once a month I want you to check It takes ten minutes Ten minutes Dear sixteen-year-old me, I do realize that you’re not actually going to see this but someone else will and it’ll make a difference to them Dear someone else Dear somebody else If you’re watching this Send it to a sixteen-year-old you care about Send it to anyone who was once sixteen Or soon will be sixteen, send this And check yourself, educate yourself You can download tools and information about melanoma here Share this link Tweet this link Post this to your Facebook


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