Hope needs a new dress ;)

My name is Kristi and 6 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 1a Melanoma. I knew nothing about this disease at the time. I had a pretty big surgery on my neck to remove the tumor (mole) and have since healed physically. In the past 6 years I have learned SO much about this sneaky, ruthless, and deadly disease. I came to the startling conclusion that there are very few out there that know anything about Melanoma, or in many cases even willing to learn. The lack of education and awareness as well as our own personal vanity seems to be the #1 reason that Melanoma has taken the driver's seat as being the fastest growing cancer in the United States. Melanoma in those under 30 is increasing faster than any other demographic group, as well as causing rapidly rising amounts of pediatric cases. While the incidence of all other cancers are on the decline, Melanoma is the only cancer that is rapidly on the INCLINE at an epidemic level.

I am a barber in Ladera Ranch, CA and since my diagnosis I have made it my mission to make my station be a "platform" for education. I have it covered in Melanoma awareness and educational materials. I hand out sunscreen samples, business cards of local dermatologists, and books that I order regularly from the National Cancer Foundation. I also order additional informational materials from the Melanoma Research Foundation to hand out as well, using the cards from them as my business card ;). In my barber chair I have helped spot Melanoma on several customers as well as through my Facebook site and will continue to always speak up if I see something suspicious anywhere that I go. My Facebook site is also completely dedicated to awareness and education as I share real and raw stories of people daily - Angels and Warriors from all over the world. I am dedicated to using Facebook as a vessel to reach as far as I can. I will soon be starting my own Webpage as well to further my reach if possible.

Three years ago Hope was born out of my sheer frustration in the lack of knowledge about Melanoma, as well as the heartbreak by the number of beautiful friends, both young and old, that we have lost and continue to lose. When I first created Hope I wanted her to be a rolling billboard/mobile melanoma PSA and she has gone above and beyond all that I had “Hoped" for however the time has come to update her beautiful Dress ;) It's been 3 years and I cannot even begin to tell you how many more precious faces we have lost, beautiful faces we have added to our Melanoma family. Melanoma continues to be the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and our youth continues to be the fastest growing target. I am more determined now than ever to get loud and educate because I am ANGRY, I am SAD and I am SO over the majority of the population rolling their eyes, or assuming the myths that Melanoma is “just skin cancer”!!!!

Melanoma is one of the most deadly, aggressive, and deceiving killers out there -- causing one death every 50 minutes in the U.S. We are losing WAY TOO MANY to this killer. In the beginning I wanted Hope to show all of the beautiful faces that ARE Melanoma and that is still my plan however this time I will concentrate on even more faces (LOTS MORE) because to me more than words the faces tell the real story of Melanoma and what it's truly capable of. This time I will combine all Warriors and Angels together with a Halo representing those loved ones lost.

Since Hope was born 3 years ago we have been fortunate enough to add her BFF Faith which is another melanoma mobile that my friend Paula Sturdevant-Knappert created after losing her beautiful 24 year old daughter Keegan to this beast.

The AMAZING team at Speedpro Imaging Coastal once again is giving me a tremendous discount in price because they are so passionate in supporting our cause and I could not be more thankful. This time around Hope will need to be unwrapped before she can be rewrapped and that price will be included in the cost. The time and love that the Speedpro team dedicate to myself, my Hope and my mission is more than I can even explain to you...this is truly a Labor of Love.

I want this disease to STOP and we DESPERATELY need to SPREAD AWARENESS so that this vicious beast gets a cure and we stop losing these YOUNG beautiful people. I want to OPEN eyes that would not have even given the word Melanoma a second thought. I am determined to use every single part of my life in raising awareness, and open eyes in every way that I can. Please help me continue my mission--any donation would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your support!


Please feel free to visit me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristi.nyhuis?fref=ts&ref=br_tf  (Kristi Donahue)

(Link to my story from the Ocean County Register )

(Link to my story from The Capistrano Dispatch)                 

(Link to Hope and Faith story told by Timna Zucker with Respect the Rays )
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Kristi Donahue 
San Juan Capistrano, CA
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