More from Heidi

I’m Heidi.  I’m 50-years-young and have lived in the Toronto area all of my life. I graduated from York University and worked for a number of years at Canada Revenue Agency.  For the last 20 years, I’ve worked side-by-side with my husband, Brian, managing our family-run accounting firm.  Our children, Mandy and Harley, are the light of my life!

My Experience with Melanoma

Several experiences that have touched my life, including melanoma, have given me a greater desire to surround myself with a strong, supportive, positive and loving circle of family and friends.  I love to laugh and have fun with people who bring out the best in me.

I understand that life does not come with a “do-over” so I have to get it right the first time.  That includes taking time to enjoy what matters most to me.  It also means I need to remember to take care of myself:  I have one body and I need it to last a very long time.

Since the Diagnosis

I considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable about various cancer risks and successful prevention practices.  Since I am proactive about my health and the health of my family, I was surprised to realize how little I knew about melanoma.  I didn’t know it can spread so quickly and that, if not detected early, it can often be fatal.

Oddly enough, I learned more from the information in the DCMF video than I learned from my own experience.

Advice I’d Give

It’s critical to check your body often and get to know your spots!  If you’re suspicious about a mole or a mark, see a doctor.  Please don’t be complacent or wait until it’s too late.  I’m so fortunate that mine was caught early, and I hope others can learn from my positive experience.

When I was growing up, I didn’t know how dangerous it was to expose my skin to the sun.  Sunscreen was not widely used and, since I have fair skin, it was not unusual for me to get a burn every summer.  Although it hurt for awhile, I thought that was the extent of the damage.  I had no idea that each burn I received was dramatically increasing my likelihood of developing melanoma later on.  I wish I would have known then what I know now!

Wearing sunscreen should be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.  Whenever we get into a car, we buckle up.  By the same token, prior to being exposed to the sun, we should cover up!

We may not have control over many types of cancers, but if we protect our skin from the sun, we can greatly reduce our chance of developing melanoma later on.  Please help to spread the word about practicing “safe sun” because education encourages prevention.

My Thanks

Thank you to Dr. Kucy Pon, the dermatologist who identified my melanoma.

Mom, you’re a phenomenal woman; and a hard act to follow.  Brian, you’re the world’s greatest husband and partner, in life and in business!  Mandy and Harley, you’re every Mom’s dream come true for a daughter and a son!

I wish the best of health and a long life to each of you, and to my wonderful family and friends.  My siblings, sibs-in-law, nieces, nephews and Min, I love you all. xox

12 Responses

  1. Marty & Sandy Rubenstein

    This video was exceeding well done and so very powerful. We will be passing it on to all our family and friends.

    PS Heidi you look great.

    May 3, 2011 at 14:47

  2. Linda Levy

    This video is so well done, and I think it does a wonderful job of getting an important message out in a powerful and interesting way. I am so proud to say that my sister is a part of it. (By the way, I remember that perm – it didn’t look so bad!)

    May 4, 2011 at 17:50

  3. Judy Goldstein

    Dear Heidi: Recognized you immediately in the video as you are still as beautiful as when you really were 16 years old. Your bio on this site also completely says who you are, and who you are is great.

    May 4, 2011 at 23:21

  4. Kerryn Grace

    Hey Beautiful,

    What a fantastic project to be involved with. And you are amazing in it, unsuprisingly enough! As l was born and bred in Australian until l was 26, the biggest gap in ozone of the planet and my strawberry blonde genetics did not pair very well! How fantastic that we now know so much more about this horrible disease. The more we can spread the news, the less the disease will spread. l would literally be terrified not to have my skin checked regularly…..l am sure this project will ensure that more and more people understand why. Will send across OZ.

    Love you lots

    Kerryn xoxox

    May 6, 2011 at 05:25

  5. Aisha Ramakrishnan

    Hi Heidi!

    I was actually watching this video with friends while on vacation when I recognized a familiar face! I was so proud and happy to say that I knew that beautiful woman (YOU!) and it made us all a little more conscientious about covering up while we were away.

    Congratulations on a fantastic video!

    May 8, 2011 at 19:23

  6. Victoria Willey

    wow i stumbled accross on the video from a shared posting of it on my friends facebook wall!!!! I watched it and now i am here wishing i had put sunscreen on my daughter when i sent her to school! and i never wear sunscreen! i am going out today and buying some good spray on sunscreen and spraying my son and me and then my daughter when she gets home. i always thought that sunscreen has so much chemicals in that if we got cancer it would be from the sunscreen itself! but maybe it really does protect.. anyone know a sunscreen that does not have too many chemicals and crap in? thanks for the awareness to this disease.

    June 9, 2011 at 13:07

    • Heidi Meirovich

      Hi Victoria!

      Thanks so much for your message.

      I also was concerned for years about the affects of sunscreen, so I chose to wear long sleeves and pants, and I encouraged my kids to do so. But in sweltering temperatures, it’s very difficult to do that, especially for the kids.

      My own opinion is that sunscreen has been widely tested and I feel much more confident that it is safe to use.

      A few doctors have recommended La Roche-Posay sunscreen products to me, specifically the Anthelios XL 60 SPF. My family and I use that, as well as Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF 60 with helioplex.

      I have found, for kids, it’s important that it’s easy and quick to apply, so sprays are a good idea (not for the face). Both La Roche-Posay and Neutrogena make spray products.

      Both of these lines of sunscreen are available in Canada, but I’m not sure of the availability in other countries.

      If you have any further questions on this, I recommend consulting your physician.

      Thanks again for your positive feedback and please share the video with your friends, especially those with children.

      All the best,

      Heidi

      June 12, 2011 at 14:15

  7. daniel

    hey i have a question sorry hehe well i have a big mole in my left side of my chest and most part of my left arm and i think i got it by the UV exposure by going to the pool allot and i dont know if thats melanoma or something close to that i need help so idk if i could take a picture and show you or something i would really appreciate it (: thanks

    August 1, 2011 at 20:33

    • DCMF

      Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. We definitely recommend speaking to your doctor if you have concerns about any of your moles. Please do keep us informed as to your progress – the best way to connect regularly is probably our Facebook page.

      August 16, 2011 at 23:49

  8. Irene

    Hi Heidi,
    I watch the video “Dear 16 Year Old Me” a lot and send the links on to as many people as I can along with posting it on FB. I still tear up watching it. It was such a well done PSA. It means so much to melanoma survivors like me because all of you are like us. We all have our own scars. I was fortunate to be diagnosed early last year and had 3 surgeries to remove two malignant melanomas on my abdomen. I was so lucky that mine were caught early. I am 54 and when I grew up there were no sunscreens. You only had suntan lotion to wear in the sun. I wore suntan lotion while many friends wore baby oil or suntan oil. I worked outside in the summer a lot, swam, and exercised outdoors all summer. I live in Ohio so the summer was the only time I was out in the sun for long periods of time during the year.
    I pray that my 28 year old daughter will not develop melanoma. She used to use tanning beds once she turned 18 and I could not get her to listen to me. She says that she now only uses spray tans and no tanning beds or booths. Our own dermatologist told her that she is at a high risk now of developing melanoma. I hope that made an impact on her. I have tried my best as her mother.
    My grandfather died when I was 20 of melanoma on his face that had metastisized quickly. He went through chemo, skin grafts, and radiation therapy. He barely lived a year.
    After I was diagnosed, I had to read everything I could about melanoma at first to try to understand it especially since I watched my grandfather die of it in 1977. However, I never expected to develop it myself.
    This year I created my own Facebook melanoma informational pages to pass information along to others in the form of articles, links, videos especially “Dear 16 Year Old Me” which I repost often, etc. along with links to all the major melanoma and skin cancer resources including the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund. It’s my way of trying to cope with the melanoma and to spread the message to more people via FB. In addition to my melanoma pages, I also post the same information on my regular FB pages. I have links posted to online sun protective clothing stores that I found and have used along with an explanation of the ratings used for the clothing. I also help admin another melanoma FB site.
    I have also given out melanoma and skin cancer booklets and pushed information out to everyone at work. So far, I have given out 460 National Cancer Institute booklets on melanoma and skin cancer since March 2010 along with 50 melanoma awareness wristbands (Fight the Beast Melanoma) that I purchased from the Melanoma Research Foundation. The 48 page booklets were free but I did have to pay for shipping. I have given them away to people at my entire work site, church, family, friends, my daughter’s friends, left them at doctors’ and psychologist’s offices, hair salons, and wherever else I can find where people may pick it up and read it or take it home to read.
    I had to do this because I remember people telling me “it’s just skin cancer” after I was diagnosed. After that, I felt the need to make people aware that this is not something minor or to take lightly. It can be a matter of life and death. It can happen to anyone. I am just trying to reach even one person and maybe it could save their life or a family member’s life.
    Take care and God bless you,
    Irene
    Here is a link to my FB melanoma pages.
    “Melanoma & Skin Cancer Awareness”
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanoma-Skin-Cancer-Awareness/150953221646650

    October 1, 2011 at 03:25

    • Heidi

      Hi Irene!

      I’m so sorry it took me this long to reply!!!

      After the video “Dear 16 Year Old Me” was released, I was checking this page regularly, several times a day in fact, but then the messages stopped and I stopped checking.

      I tend to go to the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund FB page instead. There are people associated with DCMF who manage that page. They post messages there, and reply to other posts. I would encourage people to write messages there rather than on this site, since many of us from the video tend to rely on FB.

      I was deeply touched by your message and your FB page. It’s fantastic!

      I share your concerns regarding your daughter. I have 2 grown children as well and I’m forever reminding them to practice “safe sun.”

      I can’t thank you enough for your support and endorsement of the video and of the DCMF FB page. When we receive messages from people around the world who say the video encouraged them to see a doctor in order to have a suspicious mole checked, which turned out to be malignant, it is overwhelming for us. We have received several messages of thanks from people who are convinced that the video saved their lives.

      Like you, I feel very passionate about the cause and it’s been very important to me to help spread the word. I actually got tired of writing the DCMF website on scraps of paper and handing them out to strangers who I thought would benefit from seeing the video. So, I went out and had business cards printed! They have the DCMF web address on one side and a brief message on the other side. I’ve left them at doctors’ offices, and I hand them out whenever I feel it would be appropriate to do so. I always get a positive response.

      Thank you so much for making contact with me and for taking the time to write. I appreciate it very much and I’m so thankful to you for your efforts and dedication in helping to educate people. There’s no question in my mind that your website will have an impact on saving lives.

      God bless you and I wish you and your family good health!

      Heidi

      December 14, 2011 at 06:49

  9. Elle

    I came across your video when one of my friends posted it on facebook. I am 20 and I only wish that I could’ve seen it when I was younger. It is truly eye opening and I have reposted it in hopes that it will be spread so as many people as possible can hear the message of Malignant Melanoma.

    Thank you. truly.

    December 13, 2011 at 05:39

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *