News & Press

A Father’s Perspective: Fighting Melanoma Together

Guest blog post by Joe Agosta, father of pediatric melanoma survivor Landon: 

Landon famWe are the Agosta family: Joe and Amanda, along with our five boys, Collin, Kaden, Landon, Cameron and Preston. We live in Marine City, MI. We love living in Michigan because we get to experience all four seasons in one week! Seriously, we love all the places that we can go camping at and that we are never too far from the water.

Landon was diagnosed just before his eighth birthday in August of 2015. As a parent it was scary and at times made us second guess ourselves if we did enough to protect him. It had a huge effect on our family. Some of our kids struggled with all the attention Landon was getting and they weren’t (they were all under 10 at this time). But overall, every one of his brothers were always there to support Landon. As a family we became more aware of how to protect our kids from harmful UV rays and ensured they were always covered up.  Additionally, we are a very active family and all the kids are involved in sports. It was tough during this time to get them all to their different activities and Landon struggled most because he couldn’t participate due to his compromised immune system.

As a family, most kids look up to their parents as their heroes. Not in our family; I look up to Landon. He is our hero. Throughout the entire battle he has remained strong and confident that he would be victorious. He never wavered, he showed strength that I can only dream of possessing. He showed faith that could inspire others to fight on. He showed compassion towards others even when it was him who was suffering. He showed us how we are supposed to live our lives.

I would want parents of kids with melanoma to know that it’s nothing you did or didn’t do. With Landon, prior to his diagnosis, he always was the one who would make sure he had sunscreen on, he wore UV swim shirts, he was always covered up. Just know that no matter the cause, it’s not your fault. Your kids need to see you remain confident and positive. They will need your reassurance that they can win this battle.

We support the MRF and the Pediatric Summit because it has brought to us a whole new family. The people we have met, the relationships we have formed, the support; you can’t put a price tag on that. Without the MRF and the summits, we would have been lost and we would have continued to second guess ourselves. The MRF and those involved in every way have brought us hope.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and stories like Landon’s are a powerful reminder that melanoma can affect even the youngest members of our community. In honor of Landon and the 500 additional families who will be affected by pediatric melanoma this year, please consider a tax-deductible gift to support further research, better treatments and progress towards a cure.

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