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Fun out of the Sun

Fun out of the Sun
After surviving melanoma, this local lady is making awareness fun and practical with parties and products. Find out about her nation-wide goal that is becoming a reality.

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A mole on her torso prompted her to get a checkup, and in March 2009 Andrea Heitker was diagnosed with stage III melanoma. "I didn't really understand fully that it was cancer," she says.

 

The general public takes skin cancer much more lightly than other forms of cancer, Heitker says. So she decided to spread awareness. But she didn't want to preach.

 

Instead, she started MelanomaGirl. She launched her organization at Monk's Cove in Mt. Adams with a Margaritas for Melanoma launch party on May 8, the day after her last immunotherapy treatment. Her second melanoma party, Mix and Mingle for Melanoma, hit Boston in July, and her third party is set for Chicago on Oct. 2. 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIF

 

With catch phrases like "Proud to be Pale" and "SPF: Sexy Pale Female," Heitker puts a positive twist on the deadly disease. She currently is working to create fundraiser kits so that people across the country can throw their own MelanomaGirl parties.

 

 And Woman's Day is helping to make that happen. Heitker met Barbara Brody, the health editor for Woman's Day in a taxi in Istanbul, and she wrote about Heitker in her blog, Daily Dose. (Check out the story here.)

 

Since the blog, Heitker has received a lot of positive feedback to her positive message, a message of prevention. Even after doctors removed her mole and all of the lymph nodes under her left arm and pronounced Heitker clean of cancer, she had to undergo a rigorous immunotherapy treatment schedule because "melanoma is a tricky cancer. … Melanoma is so microscopic that once it gets into your body, it can metastasize easily," Heitker says.

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So Heitker received shots every day for a month and then three times a week for 11 months. Even after her intensive treatment, she continues to go to the oncologist and get a CT scan every three months. And Heitker's goal now is that nobody else will have to go through what she has gone through with her own bout of skin cancer.

 

Beyond the parties, Heitker also raises awareness of prevention through T-shirts, which also help raise funds for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Her ultimate goal is to have a full product line of sun-protective products under the MelanomaGirl brand. From swimsuit cover-ups to sunscreen, Heitker hopes to have her products everywhere around the country to raise awareness and funds for the MRF.

 

Heitker's plans are still in the works, but she plans a second launch of MelanomaGirl in the spring with the "Save Our Skin" campaign. For more information about MelanomaGirl, check out MelanomaGirl.com.

 

 

PHOTO CREDITS
Photographer: Neysa Ruhl
Model: Andrea Heitker
Location: Cincy Chic Offices

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>


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