News & Press
Melanoma Awareness Month: Spreading the Message of Vincero!
Guest blog from Mary Forni, in memory of her husband James who passed away from melanoma in 2015:
James was originally diagnosed with melanoma in April of 2007 after a routine check–up at the doctors when a suspicious mole was removed from his back. After this was discovered, he went in for the wide local excision and sentinel node surgery. At that point, it was determined his margins were clear and the lymph node tested negative, so he was free to go about life with no further treatment.
It was not until four years later, in June of 2011, when he had his first recurrence. A large mass had formed under his armpit. He underwent surgery, followed by radiation and then interferon treatment that was supposed to last a year. After six months of treatment he had to call it quits because the side effects were too severe. The following summer he had another recurrence and the next four years were a blur of recurrences, doctors’ appointments, scans, surgeries, additional radiation and treatments. All these attempts were chasing the disease that was trying to take over his body, but James NEVER let it overtake him, define him or become him.
James was a teacher and a basketball coach at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, CA for over a decade. He absolutely loved what he did and preached that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. James loved everything sports, Sinatra and Star Wars. He was the most mature-immature person I will ever know. He was wise beyond his years but also grasped the true meaning of life, never took anything too seriously and was the biggest kid at heart. He truly enjoyed life to the fullest.
James won his battle with melanoma. He won every day in every way. He got up, he fought, he embraced, he laughed and he lived. He fully enjoyed life. He fought through the pain he felt every day. He fought through the wall of odds that were stacked against him. James taught us all how to be strong and how to handle adversity. He did it with grace and a smile. He knew the odds were not in his favor, but he refused to let that stop him.
In true Coach Forni fashion, he adopted a mantra to help him through his fight; Vincero is Italian for “I Will Win.” His positive attitude and strength truly embodied the fighting spirit of Vincero! Stuart Scott said “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” James in fact won his battle by how he chose to live, never letting the disease break his spirit. His simple acts of kindness and his infectious smile will never be forgotten for all those who knew him. He made this world a better place. He continues to inspire all that knew him to live life to the fullest.
It was in 2016, a year after James’s passing, that his family discovered the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). We were looking for something to honor and remember James and wanted to help others fighting this battle. We came across the “Miles for Melanoma” walk in San Francisco, made a team where we wear Vincero apparel that funds the scholarship in James’ honor and helps raise funds for the MRF. We look forward to participating in the walk for our 6th year in a row. The hope is to help find a cure that could save someone else’s life, so they do not have to go through what we have been through, losing a loved one. We also want to continue to spread James’ message of Vincero, and to keep a positive-hopeful outlook, no matter the circumstances.
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