Sure, the future is attractive…

November has always been a reflective month for me. It hosts my birthday, my wife’s, and good ol’ Thanksgiving. For the past several years, it’s also hosted the annual melanoma walk at The University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Our team this year

Another year has gone by. I don’t say that sentence without considering the weight of it.

This year, Team ¡Mela-NO-MAS! didn’t push for a huge team or make new t-shirts. Instead, Martha had the idea to make ‘race bibs’ for folks to wear and declare who they walk in honor or memory of. It turned out to be a great way to connect with other participants as they left the registration tables.

I was caught off guard by a woman that stopped to write a name on a bib for herself. As she talked with Martha about her husband that’d passed away only two months before, she was overcome and began to cry. Her story began to eat at my heart… That could have been me telling some woman at an event table that I’d lost my love to melanoma. As I looked back on some of the more dire days we’ve seen over the last five years, I hid behind my sunglasses and wept. In that moment I was an ugly mess of mourning and relief… I whispered “no mas” and mentally added another name to the already-too-long list pinned to Martha’s back.

That first part of the event is always the toughest. Meeting up with folks you saw at last year’s walk. Catching up on how they’re doing. Being confronted with bad news and good news.

But then we move into the staging area in the parking lot and you can feel the mood change. We mingle with other melanoma warriors, our friends and family, the Walgreens pharmacy staff, our oncologists, nurses, and local vendors that come out in support of the fight. As we set off out of the parking lot, there’s this feeling of significant purpose. And even though we know the money has already been donated — the job is done — it’s as though each step we take is physically getting us closer to even better treatments than we have today and possibly even the c-word… a cure!

This amazing woman

As the walk drew to a close, I couldn’t help but thank God for where we’ve been and what we’ve come through. As attractive as the future is… right now is beautiful.

We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset


Melanoma Walk 2013 Photos


We had a great turnout this year and all told, it sounds like all the teams raised a total of $50,000 for local melanoma research.

More photos

Say no to tans and wear your sunscreen, people.


Melanoma Walk 2013

Today’s the day.

While it’s been really rough at some points in this roller coaster ride since Martha’s diagnosis in 2009, we’ve been covered by the grace of God and surrounded the the love of many. Over the last four years, it’s really overwhelming anytime I think of the hugs, meals, gift cards, rides, emergency kid coverage, hugs, hangout sessions during Martha’s surgeries, shirts, car repair assistance, hugs, support from co-workers, laundry, house cleaning, more hugs, phone calls, texts, emails and other acts I’m a terrible person and failing to recall… It’s wonderful doing life with you friends and family. You take us out of the dips in our roller coaster.


At last year’s walk, Team Mela-NO-MAS! had more than 70 people walking. That was awesome. This year, at last count, we’re up above 100 (even a few in other parts of the world! Long distance hugs, Semmens family!) We’re so encouraged.

In a few hours, my family will head down to The University of Arizona Cancer Center – North Campus to join hundreds of other people in an effort to raise money for local melanoma research – Melanoma Walk ’13.

Melanoma really is a black beast. Say no to tans and wear your sunscreen, people.