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Miles for Melanoma: Team Farrell

Guest blog post by Maryann Farrell, melanoma advocate and captain of Team Farrell:

My melanoma journey began in 1998 when my husband was playing with our 18-month-old son. A scratch behind my husband’s ear led us to a dermatologist and to a melanoma diagnosis. The doctor removed the mole and part of my husband’s ear and life went back to normal. Two years later, the melanoma returned in his lymph nodes. Most people might say, “Why me?” but my husband always said, “Why not me? Why am I more important than anyone else? No one deserves this. Our long relationship with the MRF began after searching for resources to help us navigate through the unknown. 

My husband eventually got back on his feet after a grueling clinical trial. We had 3 small children and he could barely walk. Eventually his daily walks became longer and walking slowly became jogging and jogging eventually turned into running. My husband decided he was going to run in the NYC marathon (I thought he was crazy) and raise funds for the MRF. He coined the term “Miles for Melanoma” and he was off and asking every person we knew for a donation. He raised over $15,000. Our family was there proudly to see him complete his mission. He firmly believed that the MRF needed more funding. He would say, “Other cancers do it. We need to do it!”

In 2009, melanoma reared its ugly head once again. Until his last breath, I thought, as well as everyone else who knew him, that he would pull through. This was Steve Farrell: dad, husband, coach, runner, skier, former rugby player, crazy NY Giants fan …no way…  he was the picture of health a few months ago. Steve lost his father when he was 13 and there was no way he was going to let our three children grow up without him. He was Superman. Nothing was going to stop him. Steve passed away with me and our kids by his side on April 12, 2010. Our middle child, Matthew, was 13 years old, Megan, 15 and Luke, 10. 

My kids and I have continued Steve’s fight, his legacy, with our commitment to the MRF and the Miles for Melanoma program. We run and walk every year in our close-knit New Jersey town in his memory. We wear our green TEAM FARRELL Miles for Melanoma shamrock t-shirts and we say a prayer. We pray that no other family has to endure such a loss. Unfortunately, I know that my melanoma story is not unique and I truly wish it were. 

The MRF still needs our help! We have come a long way since Steve left us but we still have so much more to do. Team Farrell will continue to do our little part for a cause so close to all of our hearts.

Melanoma patients and their families are at the center of everything the MRF does, and their support makes our work possible. Please consider joining supporters like Maryann and TEAM FARRELL with a tax-deductible gift today.

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