Many of us know someone who has been affected by melanoma – a parent, child, friend, cousin or coworker. Not too many people know that we are watching a two time survivor each day deliver the 11 a.m. news. WGN-TV Midday anchor Dina Bair is drumming up support from her fellow media personalities to come and help her celebrate being cancer free while getting the word out about the importance of being checked for melanoma. “For too long, people fighting this cancer have had few treatment options, recently, people fighting melanoma have seen some important treatment breakthroughs, and scientists are getting close to cracking the code to effectively treating melanoma” said Jennifer Gilbert one of the race organizers for TEB’s Troops Miles for Melanoma taking place on Sunday, July 29th at Montrose Harbor (601 W. Montrose Drive, Chicago). The 5k run and walk will start at 9 a.m. rain or shine.
The start of this race is a special one, a time where you hear from survivors including Bair who will bring a tear to your eye. Hearing about her personal struggle with melanoma and seeing her four lovely children and adoring husband as they cheer for her to cross the finish line. Bair’s children are growing and lacing up their shoes (her youngest just finished a 5k on Fathers day!) This is a special race for Bair and her family. Bair shares her story.
Q: How did you get involved with the run?
A: The two incredible women who started the race contacted me, hoping I would help them carry on the spirit of their lost friend . TEB (Trisha E. Black) was a young mother who battled valiantly but passed away after melanoma spread through her body. Teb was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma at 29 years old. She had a 9 month old son. Wanting to rally her “troops” her friends started the “TEB’s Troops” race now teaming with the Melanoma Research Foundation it’s called “TEB’s Troops Miles for Melanoma.”
Q: What does this race mean to you?
A: When I first emceed this event, I had recently been diagnosed with Melanoma. I was a mother like Teb. I felt guilty standing there giving a speech knowing the strong woman for whom the race was named was gone. But her friends and family offered me support and hope. This disease is particularly devastating because there are very few effective treatments. If the disease spreads to a place where it cannot be surgically removed (Brain, Lungs, Liver are the first places), the cancer is deadly. That is why research is so critical. This race helps raise funds for the study to find lifesaving treatments. As I live in fear of the disease popping up somewhere else in my body, I know our efforts will make a difference.
Q: How is this has this affected you as a mom?
A: This is my second battle with cancer. The first time I was diagnosed, I asked how will the treatment affect my ability to have children? Now, all I worried about were my four kids. When the doctor said “there is no effective treatment,” all I heard was “four kids, no Mom.” That was devastating. Now my kids come to this race and they support me as a survivor and work to raise money to give me and every other person who will face Melanoma a fighting chance.
Q: Will your kids be running with you this year?
Yes! They give me the strength the finish strong on a bum knee!
A: What would you like to add to get people to come out and participate with you?
When I was battling cancer, I ran and competed in races to feel strong. I knew it was the one thing I could do to build up my endurance and give me the tools I needed to stay healthy. Join me in this race to embrace your own power over your health, to feel the breeze along the lakefront, to look at the serene views of the water, to experience the emotion of people all coming together for a common goal and to feel the warmth of knowing you ARE making a difference!
Your participation in Miles for Melanoma funds important research. You can be a part of the next discovery – one that will help people with melanoma live longer, better lives.
Come and Support Dina Bair and help raise donations by clicking here.