Monday, July 29, 2013

Let's Talk About Love....

Jillian’s Journey with Melanoma- A Mother’s Story.

The journey continues as the road twists and turns. It can be staggeringly dark as I try and find my way. There are hidden dangers along the way. Potholes that leave me breathless if I peer into their depths too long. Little side trails that leave me lost and confused. But I’m learning how stay on the path, face the demons, and kick them to the curb as I continue toward the light. And there is always light we can reach for. We just need to keep our eyes open to it.

On Saturday, July 20,  Tim VanderMolen was stolen from his family by Melanoma Cancer. Another young person with a future, a man stolen from his  young son and loving family. Another family forced down the cancer road and into a new state of existence they didn’t ask for. I became friends with Tim and his sister Becki through his cancer battle. Last November, I had a billboard up at the AIM walk in North Carolina honoring our Stage IV warriors. Tim asked if he could be on the billboard, but unfortunately the billboard was already complete and up and running. I made a promise that he could be on the next billboard. Today from July 29- August 25 , Tim’s billboard will be on display in Grand Rapids, MI on I-196 .3 E/O Chicago Drive SS/Facing East.

The billboard campaign has become successful in spreading awareness to this disease, and as I drove home from dropping the check to the billboard company today,  I was struck with the realization that these billboards and spreading awareness has become so much more. It’s about people. Real people who are struggling each day, each minute with this disease. It about families who are devastated and ripped open when someone they love dies from Melanoma. It’s about fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of upcoming scans, fear of their melanoma rearing its ugly head after being classified as “No Evidence of Disease”. It’s about honoring the magnificent human beings that are effected by melanoma, and how we can help by sharing  and teaching others.

 It's also about love, you know. I’ve grown to love these warriors.  We are all connected in some way just by breathing on the same planet at the same time. Let’s not only talk about love, let’s do something. Give that hug. Make that call. Help those suffering to see the glimpse of light they are searching for.

~ Peace, and love!

Tim set up a page to help offset some of his funeral expenses. I've attached that link:


  1. Thank you again for so generously sharing your heart. I always get so much out of reading what you've written. I'd love to see these bulletin boards up on the way TO THE BEACH. This is where I am certain I developed skin cancer and it would have been a good warning/reminder to see it on the drive to the NC beaches on I-40 East. How can we get these put up everywhere?

  2. Thanks Susan, melanoma is horrible and awareness needs to be spread!

  3. Mama Bear, your words describe my heart to a T! Tim is beaming down from heaven, along with Jillian, so proud of the work we both are doing to spread awareness against the black beast called Melanoma. I will continue to stand beside you and do whatever it takes to get the word out to people everywhere! Tim and Jillian are expecting that from us. I love you more than words can express and the billboard has helped my family in dealing with Tim's passing.