At the Melanoma Coalition, we have worked to resource Melanoma medical research for a cure since our inception. After having lost a child to this disease, we have dedicated all our efforts toward research with the singular focus of fundraising support. We have had great success in this area and now are beginning to expand our focus to include education, awareness and prevention. In the coming months tMC will partner with best in class organizations to provide skin safety programs across the country. Please check back regularly for updates.
The Melanoma Coalition is dedicated in loving memory to Connor M. Cockerham and to countless others who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease. Our hope—our wish—is that those suffering today with this disease will be cured and that through education and prevention we will begin to see the incidents of Melanoma occurrences decline, eventually eradicating this disease.
Connor was first diagnosed with Melanoma in his senior year of high school. What should have been a time of excitement and new beginnings was instead one of surgeries and recovery. But, recover he did, and because his Melanoma was caught early and had not spread, he was able to begin his freshman year of college with all of his friends. He was a normal college kid doing normal college things.
Connor, who was also known by friends and family as “The Ginger,” lived to make others smile. He loved to dance, he dined on joy, and it was this glowing spirit that drew people to his company. He had a special talent for recognizing peers who had trouble fitting in, and he made it his business to let them know why they were loved and that they had a friend who would stand beside them.
Just 15 months after Connor had been declared “cancer-free,” he had a recurrence. This time it wasn’t so simple. Connor’s Melanoma had not only returned, but had metastasized throughout his body. Just 2 months and 9 days later, on January 9, 2014, Connor’s young life ended. He was only 20 years old. While he was hospitalized, the outpouring of love and support he received from his friends provided evidence of Connor’s gift: a life spent spreading love and friendship always, no matter where he was.
On Connor’s hospital room wall was an Emile Zola quote so apropos that it was if someone had known Connor would be there. It read, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will answer you; I am here to live out loud.” Yes, Connor, you lived out loud, and you brought people together through your friendship and loving vitality. You are sorely missed by all who knew you.
Connor’s family and friends have come together and formed The Melanoma Coalition in his memory with the great hope of saving lives and ending this terrible disease. We call ourselves The Ginger Movement.