Sun Threadz, which promotes skin cancer awareness and protection with clothing designed to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
I will always remember the day I found out I had melanoma. I was exhibiting at the American Craft Council in Baltimore in July 1999 with my 14-year-old-daughter. My husband was home and received the call that I had to contact my dermatologist immediately.
We arrived home on an artists’ high - the collectors were buying, the galleries and museums were ordering, and I was so excited to be part of the creative event in Baltimore that a diagnosis of melanoma was pushed aside. I didn’t even know what melanoma was at that time - it may as well have been malaria for all it meant to me.
If I was told I had cancer, that would have gotten my attention, like when I was told of my breast cancer diagnosis. Somehow without the word “cancer” after “melanoma” it felt less threatening.
Good Day, SunshineFor me, paradise had always been sitting on the beach in a comfortable beach chair with a good book and nothing but the sounds of the ocean to relax me.
As a child, I spent summers in Cape May – a tradition I continued throughout my life.
The Bahamas are only a couple hours away so every spring, we were on the beach soaking up the rays and just so we were sure we had every sun angle covered, we had a pool put in our backyard. Unfortunately, I was unaware that my favorite pastimes could cause cancer.
Vitamin D anyone?
After my melanoma diagnosis, I had nightmares that I could never swim in the ocean again. The thought that I would have to spend summers indoors was devastating. I knew I could never go out in the sun unprotected, and sunscreen just did not feel like it would provide enough protection so I started searching for clothing to wear.
Clothing made me feel very protected and comfortable. I ordered a couple of pieces but was not comfortable with the design or style and would never wear the clothing so I did what every artist/designer would do; designed my own pieces. These were a few key pieces that I knew I would need to continue to do all the summer things I love. I opened my online store in May 2008 since I knew there were other women who felt the say way I did.
Today, I continue to spend time at the shore, and do my laps in my backyard pool after work. I protect myself with sunscreen, and wear sun protection clothing during every activity I do outdoors. I am also very conscious of the critical hours between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
Join me on this blog as I write about melanoma, being a cancer survivor, and give tips on protecting yourself from the sun and skin cancer.
Learn about Colleen’s sun safety clothing line, Sun Threadz.
Learn about the Abramson Cancer Center’s Melanoma Program.
Attend Focus On Melanoma – A Free Patient Education Conference.