Every eight minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer; and every hour of every day, someone in the United States dies from melanoma.
Last year there were more than 8,650 deaths from melanoma, and the American Cancer Society predicts this year the number will top 10,000.
To try to stop as many of those deaths as possible, Cindy Mayer, Washington, and her daughter, Beth Revers Castle are organizing the Eighth Annual Melanoma Miles for Mike Run/Walk. It will be held Saturday, April 26, beginning at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School in Washington.
Runners can choose from a 10K or 5K distance. Races begin at 8 a.m.
New this year, runners’ times will be recorded immediately by Fleet Feet shoe store out of St. Louis.
Previously times were recorded with a stopwatch and the process was long, said Mayer. Runners weren’t able to find out their times for a while, which was an inconvenience, as many needed to leave right after the race.
The event also offers a 5K walk.
In the past, there have been more than 200 runners and about 100 walkers participating.
This year’s T-shirt will feature artwork from a student at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.
Dr. Jason Reinberg, a dermatologist with Mercy Clinic, will be at Miles for Mike to answer questions. Material from the Melanoma Research Foundation also will be on hand.
All participants will receive a black bracelet to represent the fight against melanoma.
To register for the Eighth Annual Melanoma Miles for Mike or to make a donation, people can visit www.melanomamiles.org.
Named after Castle’s last husband, Mike Revers, who died from melanoma in 2007 just shy of his 29th birthday, Melanoma Miles for Mike has raised $150,000 for the Melanoma Research Foundation, which works to find new drugs to help melanoma patients.
Mayer hopes that young people see Revers’ story as a warning to them as they are the most at risk.
“People under 30 are developing melanoma at alarming rate,” she told The Missourian.
“Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for adults age 25 to 29, and it’s the second most common cancer in adolescents.”
Tanning beds are a contributing factor, said Mayer, noting some emit two to three times the UV rays that the sun does and others emit as much as 12 to 15 times the UV rays.
“Teenagers only have to go to a tanning bed 10 times in 12 months and they are 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma in their lifetime,” she stressed.
A healthier alternative to tanning beds are sunless tan lotions or spray tans.
“These are the only things recommended by the American Dermatological Society,” said Mayer.
People also need to be cautious if they will be outside in the sun. Dermatologists recommend always wearing sunscreen, said Mayer.
“People ask me what is the best kind to use, and I always say, ‘The kind that you will use every day,’ ” Mayer said.
In 2009, nearly 63,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma, and it’s projected that 77,000 will be diagnosed this year.