Twisted Silver honors Christina McEvoy, miraculous melanoma cancer survivor and advocate, with the Defining Girl Award. Twisted silver celebrates women who define their lives by using their unique talents to make a difference in their communities. Christina McEvoy is just one of those women. We just can’t help sharing her story, and as you read on you’ll see why:
Christina was a swim instructor and lifeguard in her teen and early adult years in the San Francisco Bay area. When she was 30 years old, a mother of a 3 year old and 7 months pregnant with her second child, she came face-to-face with the tragic results of all those hours in sunlight. She was diagnosed with melanoma. Fortunately, at the time of her initial diagnosis, surgery was all that was required to remove the cancer. But in 2010, the cancer returned and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. The most dangerous of skin cancers had rapidly spread to other parts of her body. She had a 5% chance of surviving one year.
Four years later with her cancer in remission, Christina did far more than just survive. She has discovered her life’s mission in making a difference to others. She was recently honored with the Courage Award by the MelanomaResearchFoundation at their annual WingsofHopeforMelanoma gala in San Francisco early this May for her tremendous strength in her battle with melanoma. In her humility she doesn’t really understand why she’s being honored, but in an interview with Christina – and in doing some digging research — I learned why she was recognized.
Faced with a slim chance of living the next year, she chose to act. She’s a frequent speaker at AmericanCancerSocietyand other events. She continually speaks at high school and community education classes, raising awareness of melanoma. She and two of other melanoma survivors have founded their own non-profit organization , SolSurvivorsMelanomaFoundation to be raise awareness for melanoma but also be a beacon of hope to others diagnosed with melanoma. She shares her story and supports others with the same diagnosis. She readily admits that cancer helped her realize how important it is to serve others in life. Amidst all of that, she never loses sight of her main purpose: being a wife to her husband and mother to her two little ones. Her tenacity, courage and deep faith are inspiring to anyone in any struggle. Her desire to make a difference while wading in a threatening personal crisis is a radiating beauty worth celebrating. Please read on…
TwistedTina: Most of us just can’t imagine what it must be like to be given a bombshell of a diagnosis at any age, but with being the mom of a toddler and pregnant?
Christina: It was beyond devastating. But I began searching for answers and help, and it was hard, because there wasn’t a lot positive information out there on the Internet. I wanted to hear from survivors, I wanted to know who had beat this thing and how to turn it around into a positive experience. It was far from easy, and there were lots of rough days. However, I met two other women on an online forum who live here in Idaho, and we became each other’s support.
TwistedTina: Support is so crucial. It didn’t just stop there, though, did it?
Christina: No it didn’t. When my cancer metastasized, I had an epiphany. I realized that I had been handed a challenge, and it wasn’t just for me to survive or not only for me to grow as a person. I realized that I was given the task to help other people. I just knew it in my heart.
Together with my survivor friends, we talked about how Boise had little to no support system for melanoma patients or survivors and how little awareness there was for melanoma in the community. Right then and there, we decided we needed to change that, especially since Idaho rates at the top of the nation for skin cancer diagnosis and melanoma deaths! That’s when Sol Survivors Melanoma Foundation was born. “Sol” as in sun.
TwistedTina: Tell us a little about the mission of Sol Survivors Melanoma Foundation.
Christina: Our mission is twofold: to raise awareness for melanoma in our communities and to support other melanoma survivors, along with their family members and friends. We are raising awareness by speaking throughout the community to promote prevention education, and fundraising at various events. By encouraging others to be SAFE IN THE SUN and proactive about their skin and health, together we WILL save lives!
TwistedTina: How can people with melanoma outside of Boise get help from Sol Survivors?
Christina: We’d like to connect melanoma survivors from all over the world. When I was told my diagnosis and prognosis, I wanted to hear stories of people who already went through it. I wanted to be inspired, supported, understood. On our website we call those people “Sol Mates”. Connection and support are so important. We want to be not just a helpful resource, but a hopeful one.
TwistedTina: On the awareness education side, what is your organization doing?
Christina: We talk at high schools and other community events. We want the message out there that melanoma is the number 1 fastest growing cancer. And it’s growing exponentially. Victims are usually ages 15-30 and it’s largely preventable. You are more likely to develop melanoma if you: live in sunny climates or at high altitudes and spend a lot of time in high levels of strong sunlight, have had one or more blistering sunburns during childhood or use tanning beds.
TwistedTina: I imagine it takes time and money to make your mission a reality.
Christina: Oh, yes! Time! I mean, my family comes first, of course. Plus I have to be careful of my own health. I’m in remission, but with melanoma, you’re never fully out of the woods. I still undergo treatments and have tests. And then there’s money. The three of us founders of Sol Survivors have been paying for everything out of our own pockets. However, we are in the process of becoming an official 501(c)3 non-profit, which will make it easier for companies to sponsor our efforts.
Twisted Tina: How can our readers help?
Christina: Visit www.solsurvivors.org and click the DONATE button. Really any amount is dearly appreciated.
Twisted Tina: Well, Twisted Silver has another way too. We understand that the Chill bracelet is one of your favorites. In the spirit of “chilling out the harmful sunlight” we will donate 100% of the proceeds when anyone buys the Chill bracelet in June.
Christina: That’s so great!
Twisted Tina: Are there any parting words you’d like to give?
Christina: I’m just so grateful to be alive. I’ve been given a mission by God, and it’s my faith that keeps me going. I just know I’m not done yet. I have a lot of work left to do. No one knows when there time’s up. We’re not supposed to know. Maybe I have 1 year, 5 years, 50 more years. I don’t know. But I do know that it’s important to make the very best of this life, and that means turning my attention outwards to make a difference to others if I can.
If you would like to follow Christina’s continuing incredible journey, check out her blog If you feel moved to donate, or are looking for melanoma support, visit Christina’s organization SolSurvivorsMelanomaFoundation