Melanoma Fund for MGH via Licia

My name is Licia Morelli and this is my story of Cancer diagnosis and how you can help others like me beat Melanoma:

8am, 2010.

I’m standing in my my bathroom getting ready for the day. Pulling my hair into a ponytail I notice a large freckle that seemed to appear out of nowhere overnight. I called out to my husband to take a look. But even before he said “You should get that checked” I knew two things:

1. The “freckle” mole was one of concern.

2. I would ignore it and the voice inside my head telling me it was problematic, indefinitely.

Fast forward to 2013, a sunny day in March wherein I’m at a friend’s Easter Brunch, my hair in a ponytail once again because I was obviously in a 3 year hair rut.

Suddenly, I feel a grip on my arm.

A squeeze that holds the intensity that could instill panic or make the room go into slow motion. Which, of course it did, but I wasn’t sure yet as to why.

I turned to find a physician’s assistant friend of mine examining the mole on my neck. Even before she spoke, I knew what was coming.

She asked me about it – How long had it been there? Had I gotten it checked? Did I know it held all of the ABCDE’s of Melanoma? (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving). 

It was all very Terms of Endearment, Debra Winger/Shirley MacLaine but she was just confirming what I already knew – something was wrong and it needed to be addressed. Even then, along side the voice inside in 2010, I just kept hearing the word “cancer” and still I did nothing about it.

Another year went by and it was only at the next Easter in 2014 that I finally went to the dermatologist.

Now if you’ve ever had a skin exam at the dermatologist you know the following:

1. You’ve got to get naked.
2. You’re examined in ways I’m sure your significant other hasn’t seen you as intimately – let alone with the enhancement of the dermascope (a handy device that helps detect melanoma).

During the exam, the Dermatologist went over and over all the freckles and moles on my Irish/Italian skin landscape. Over and over again he headed northward to my neck – fascinated by this pesky little mole that sat there – an island in and of itself.

Each and every time the dermatologist went back up to that mole my intuition whispered “cancer” and still my mind tried to talk me out of it.

Once the skin exam was complete he asked me to come back in 2 hours so that he could biopsy the mole. I answered “Oh I couldn’t possibly. I’ll need to come back another day”. It was then that he looked me in the eye, and said “I’ll have to insist”.

It was a place where intuition and fact collide.
I knew then that I was headed into a battle that I didn’t choose. A battle that I put off. A battle that I avoided because of fear and denial.

The point of this campaign is not to talk to you about Stage 3 Melanoma cancer, which I went on to be diagnosed with, had 2 surgeries for and a immunotherapy treatment for... It’s also not to talk about how Melanoma is one of the most common cancers for people 18-39 years old or how the incidents of Melanoma diagnosis have risen 800% in women and 400% in men since 1970.

Nope. Not here to talk about any of that.

The purpose of this campaign is to help raise money for a hospital, and more specifically, 2 departments within that hospital that helped me overcome not only my bought with Melanoma but that helps countless others beat this disease as well.

I'm starting this gofundme campaign to raise money to donate to the Massachusettes General Hospital Eye & Ear Head and Neck Surgical Oncology program as well as the Massachusettes General Hospital Melanoma Oncology department.

These two services were instrumental in not only getting me back to health but they are leaders in the fight against Melanoma.

So I ask you today, please donate what you can in order to keep these doctors and researchers going strong. More and more Doctors are relying on private donations to continue their research and make progress in the field and any dollar amount helps.

I will be donating all funds from this campaign to the Mass Eye and Ear Head and Neck Melanoma Surgical Oncology as well as the Mass General Melanoma Oncology departments - specifically to projects that Dr. Kevin Emerick and Dr. Ryan Sullivan  are working on.

Thank you so much for being here and I so appreciate your support to help others with Melanoma continue to get the best care they need. 

Please be sure to share and like this campaign as well in order to spread the word! THANK YOU!!!




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Licia Morelli 
Camden, ME
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