Getting to Know . . .
Founder of Warriors Against Melanoma
Carola Gloyd is a woman on a mission and that mission is to save lives. In 2014, she founded Warriors Against Melanoma (WAM), a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to education, awareness, and fundraising to find better treatments, and eventually a cure for melanoma skin cancer. Carola is a stage III melanoma survivor. She was diagnosed with the disease when she was 28 years old, and was given a 50/50 chance to survive beyond 2 years.
Carola learned she had this life threatening disease by happenstance. “My husband and I were planning to take a cruise to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. The cruise was about a month away and I decided to see a dermatologist to have a mole removed.”
As she waited to see him, she began reading an American Cancer Society (ACS) wall poster about melanoma, highlighting the ABCDE of its characteristics:
A is for asymmetrical shape and mine was asymmetrical.” Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders.
C is for changes in color. Look for growths that have many colors or an uneven distribution of color.
D is for diameter. Any mole bigger than 5 mm, about the size of a pencil head eraser.
E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes color or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.
She had no thoughts her mole could be skin cancer. “The dermatologist took one look and immediately said he could not remove the mole, that it needed to be biopsied to test for melanoma. It came back positive. The doctors did not think the melanoma spread yet, but a biopsy of my lymph nodes came back positive for melanoma.”
She was shocked to learn that skin cancer could be deadly. Carola had surgery, participated in a clinical trial, and underwent two years of chemotherapy. Two years after, she had no evidence of disease. That was over 16 years ago.
Carola founded WAM to raise funds and awareness for the deadliest skin cancer. WAM holds several events each year. The main events are the Poker Run fundraiser at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and a Trivia Night event in Chesterfield. WAM primarily raises funds for melanoma research. WAM also donates locally to the Miles Against Melanoma Family Assistance Program, helping families battling late-stage melanoma that need help with medical expenses.
Since WAM was founded in 2014, more than $75,000 has been raised.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Information
One bad sunburn increases your chances of melanoma by 75%.
Avoid the sun during the highest hours, between 10 am and 3 pm.
The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years.
Melanoma is the number one cancer killer of young women age 25 – 29.
Tanning beds and sun lamps are also sources of UV rays, and should NEVER be used, as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major risk factor for most melanomas.
A mole is a benign pigmented tumor. Most moles will never cause any problems, but someone who has many moles is more likely to develop melanoma.
The risk of melanoma is much higher for Caucasians than for African Americans. Caucasians with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, or fair skin that freckles or burns easily are at increased risk.
Your risk of melanoma is higher if one or more of your first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) has had melanoma. Around 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease.
Experts advise that people with a family history of melanoma do the following:
- Have regular skin exams by a dermatologist
- Thoroughly examine their own skin once a month
- Be particularly careful about sun protection and avoiding artificial UV rays (such as those from tanning booths)
- A person who has already had melanoma has a higher risk of getting melanoma again. People who have had basal or squamous cell skin cancers are also at increased risk of getting melanoma.
- A person’s immune system helps fight cancers of the skin and other organs. People with weakened immune systems (from certain diseases or medical treatments) are more likely to develop many types of skin cancer, including melanoma.
“Be your own advocate. Get naked in front of a mirror and check for moles and ask a relative or friend to check those places you are not able to view yourself. “In addition, see a dermatologist once a year.”
For additional information about WAM, contact Carola at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carola is thoroughly enjoying her membership in the Kirkwood- Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce. She particularly appreciates the many opportunities available for networking and getting the word out about WAM.
She and her husband, Chester, have lived in Kirkwood for over 18 years with their two sons, Carter and Chandler.