As a guest writer this week,..

Be Well Be Happy

As a guest writer this week, we welcome my dearest sister, Janet Fash to share her story. Anyone that knows Janet recognizes her as the civil activist, chief lifeguard, school teacher, but most of all, one of the most authentic people you will ever meet. She is always saving lives and helping people. A true warrior and one of the strongest women I have ever known. My best friend, my heart and soul. Love her (Helen Kilgallen).


As a community whose backyard is the beach, we enjoy lots of outdoor healthy activities ranging from volleyball to golfing, lifeguarding, skateboarding, biking, swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding, and yoga on the beach, along with countless other activities. Many of us are diligent about watching our ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. For lots of us, especially those of us that are lifeguards with the double trouble of a Celtic background, we have to slather sunblock lotion on, wear SPF 50 rash guards, adorn hats and sit under an umbrella on the beach.

Each week I enjoy reading Dr. Galvin’s weekly column on the various health issues that we face. Well, this past week, I, along with many beach-loving people around the world got the call from the dermatologist that no one wants to get: You have a melanoma freckle.

According to the  Melanoma Research Foundation, “In 2018, over 178,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma. Of these, approximately, 91,000 will be diagnosed with invasive (Stage I, II, III or IV) melanoma and another 87,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma in situ (Stage 0).”

I have known many wonderful people who lost their lives to this at times insidious and at times, fast-growing cancer. To name a few: Guidance Counselor, Jerry Dever, summer resident nurse, Mary Bellew and Kim Mullen Maher’s husband, Guidance Counselor Thomas Maher.

Early detection and prevention are the keys. So for all of us who love the outdoors, here is a reminder for us and our family members: Please go visit a dermatologist (if you do not currently do so) and request a full body scan. I have been a lifeguard for over 38 years and for a good amount of those years  I’ve visited the dermatologist before and after the season. In the past I had basal and squamous skin cancer.

On January 18, 2018, before I headed down to Rincon, Puerto Rico, I went to the dermatologist because of something on my arm and I randomly also pointed at an irregular shaped freckle on my right calf. Well, while in PR, the dermatologist called and said get back immediately to be treated for a melanoma on my right calf. It was caught very early and they did an excision that went deep because like a weed, it grows out and downward and has roots.

So as springtime nears, I implore all of you to make sure to include the dermatologist appointment in your list of things to do. I would be remiss not to mention Rockaway resident and former lifeguard Brian Sullivan who first enlisted me to first visit a dermatologist many moons ago. I have often joked about being a frequent flier to the dermatologist. Well, it appears that those visits may very well have paid off for me and I’m hoping that some of you can be enlisted to visit a dermatologist yearly as well. Bring the whole family.

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