Husband endeavors after losing wifeApril 20, 2009 by Haley Etchison
Amanda Brown lost her life to melanoma, Michael Brown determined to educate others
Michael and Amanda Brown were the perfect couple – through the tears in her husband’s eyes, it is clear. And the ring she placed on his finger the day they were married is still there, three years after her death.
Amanda Brown started writing down the story of her battle with melanoma. She talked about her childhood, coming of age and meeting her soul mate and about finding her cancer and fighting for a miracle.
On April 8, 2006, one week before her death, she wrote, “Lots going on lately and it’s become difficult for me to be on the computer for any length of time because of the tumor on my tailbone.” Michael Brown finished her story, explaining that he typed as she dictated, too much in pain to do it herself.
“I have been in more pain now than I have ever dreamed I could withstand. The Morphine just doesn’t cut it anymore,” he transcribed.
The account ends, “I don’t know what to do. I’m just trusting in God. I know he’ll take care of me. Just the same though, God, I want to live! Please God, I want to live!”
Michael Brown, still in love with his wife and more determined than ever to fight for life, now talks to young people around Nevada, sharing his and Amanda’s story.
Not long after his wife died, Michael Brown contacted the Melanoma Education Foundation. Soon he had begun an MEF chapter in Southern Nevada, called Amanda’s Message.
“Our whole goal is to educate high school and middle school children about melanoma and sun safety,” he said. “I have 43 schools signed up so far in all of Nevada. I want them all, though. I have to have them all.”
Michael Brown explained that 90 percent of people who die from melanoma could have been saved if they had only known the facts that he and his wife found out too late.
“Amanda started getting a mole on her shoulder that she thought was just a beauty mark. Then it started getting like a pencil eraser and they cut it off and found that it was melanoma and our life turned around right there,” he said. If he had known the warning signs that could mean a mole is cancerous, Michael Brown said he could have helped save his wife.
Michael Brown is determined to keep fighting in her memory. He said he is encouraged by knowing that he could save a life by sharing Amanda’s story.
“She went to heaven for a reason and this has got to be the reason,” he said. “I have to make it that way because my heart is still hurting.”
Reaching out to the UNLV community, where Amanda was a member of the faculty, Michael Brown presented a talk about melanoma Thursday and hosted a booth in Pida Plaza, handing out information to students and inviting them to look in a screening machine to see the sun’s damage to their skin.
“I wanted to be a grandfather,” he said. “I wanted to be a father but I don’t think I’m going to be one right now. But if I could save another husband from feeling the pain that I do… then I’m good with that. That’s another hole plugged in my heart.”
“A lot of people who have lost loved ones want to fight back,” said Steve Fine, president of the MEF. He explained that Michael Brown’s choice to pursue melanoma education primarily, rather than focusing on raising funds for research, reflects his desire to help save people right away.
“The education aspect is more likely to help people in the short term than research is,” Fine said. “There’s a big payoff.”
Fine said that people who have seen loved ones die of melanoma and realize that a little more knowledge could have prevented their tragedy are, like Michael Brown, making strides toward helping young people avoid skin cancer.
Even the education route to fighting melanoma is expensive, though.
Sha Na Na, a jazz band where Michael Brown plays saxophone, put on a benefit concert for Amanda’s Message two years ago raising $17,000 for the cause. Michael Brown said, “Now I’m down to 200-something dollars. I need to have another benefit or some kind of donation or something because as soon as that happens I’m going to rock and roll again. I’m not going to stop.”
Saying how he hopes to find support within the UNLV community, Michael Brown said, “I need help because I’m kind of by myself doing all of this and I’m trying real hard to keep things going with it.”
Listen to Michael Brown’s song With All My Heart here:
from melanoma, a common skin cancer that is often deadly unless detected early before
there are any symptoms. The Foundation increases awareness of melanoma three ways:
- Trains high school and middle school health educators and provides them
with student materials and lesson plans.
- Provides complete information about early self-detection and prevention of
melanoma in a user-friendly website.
- Conducts talks and facial skin analyzer screenings for area organizations
in your state, please contact us.
The SkinCheck® Class for High Schools and Middle Schools
Alternative High School & Middle School Resources
Colleges and Universities
Order a Tan to Die For Poster or a Knowing Your Skin Could Save Your Life Poster
2. Show student video (different videos for middle and high school).
3. Brief post-video discussion with class to assess knowledge/attitude changes.
4. Distribute student melanoma bookmarks and go over them with students.
5. Assign students to take bookmarks home and teach their parents about melanoma.
to the best of our ability and resources on a first come first service basis.
Services and Materials Provided:
- Melanoma teacher-training DVD with 45 minute narrated Powerpoint presentation for health educators. The DVD has been designated as a 2010 Gold Triangle Award winner by the American Academy of Dermatology
- Detailed one-session classroom lesson plan for health educators.
- "Should've, Could've, Would've,” a new (2008) DVD video about melanoma produced for middle school students by the Melanoma Education Foundation. Three young melanoma survivors share their experiences, educating viewers about the mistakes that nearly cost them their lives. The video received a 2009 Gold Triangel Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
- "My Melanoma Vlog," a new (2008) DVD video on melanoma produced for high school students by the Melanoma Education Foundation is about a student who attends a high school health fair, becomes concerned about skin cancer, searches the internet for more information, and shares what she learns via the popular medium of video blogging. The video received a 2009 Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
- “See Spot” bookmarks for all health class (or related course) students each year. The bookmarks, produced by MEF, complement the videos and focus on early detection of melanoma. Bookmark size is 3.5 " x 8.5".
- Quiz / homework exercises, questions and answers.
- A teacher-resource CD with PowerPoint images from the teacher-training presentation, printable classroom documents, and supplementary information.
"Teaching the SkinCheck Class" is a 45 minute narrated PowerPoint presentation that wellness teachers watch as a prerequisite for receiving free classroom materials. The DVD video was selected as a 2010 Gold Triangle Award winner by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Would've Video (DVD)
Vlog Video (DVD)
"See Spot" Bookmark
Two student videos produced by the Melanoma Education Foundation were completed in September, 2008. Extensive student focus group input was utilized at every step of the video development process. Middle school and high school students were asked what they liked and disliked about other health videos and then they evaluated alternative approaches to health-related message delivery for maximum impact and credibility.
In the middle school video, "Should've, Could've, Would've," three young melanoma survivors and their families share their experiences, educating viewers on how to avoid mistakes that nearly cost the survivors their lives.
"My Melanoma Vlog," the high school video, is about a student who attends a high school health fair and becomes concerned after learning about melanoma and the danger of tanning beds at a skin cancer exhibit. After searching the internet for more information she shares what she has learned with friends through the popular medium of vlogging (video-blogging).
The videos received a 2009 Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.
M'Lena Gandolfi, Physical Education/Health Teacer, Manchester-Essex Regional High School, MA.
Diana Walker, Physical Education & Health Department Chair, Sanford High School, ME.
Lise Nielsen, Helath & Physical Education Department Head, Nauset Regional High School, MA.
Tory Sullivan, Chairperson, Physical Education & health, Brien McMahon High School, CT.
Nick Cornell, Physical Education Department Chair, Campo Verde High School, AZ.
Patricia Dodge, Health Teacher, Essex Middle School, VT.
Linda Conti, Health teacher, Grove City High School, OH.
Lani Worthington, Health Teacher, McCutcheon High School, IN.
How to Order SkinCheck Materials
If you teach in an area eligible for free materials (see above) you may submit an on-line request for the free 45 minute teacher-training video or click here to download a mail/fax request form. The video will be accompanied by a form and instructions for ordering free classroom materials by mail or on-line.
Click here to order educational materials on-line.
|The next page lists schools utilizing the SkinCheck® program.|
Copyright © 2005 Melanoma Education Foundation. All rights reserved.
tanning beds; posters are shipped first-class in stay-flat mailers.
Copyright © 2009 Melanoma Education Foundation. All rights reserved.
vertical growth phase of melanomas and explains with photos how to recognize
different types of melanoma; posters are shipped first-class in stay-flat mailers.
includes a downloadable Sun Safety Activity Guide with activities suitable for grades K-6
includes downloadable teaching materials for primary, middle, and high schools.
downloadable curriculum materials for Maryland elementary school teachers and students.
published in the December, 2005 issue of Dermatology Nursing.
effects of sun exposure, skin types, the body's natural defenses, and protective measures.