Movie “Dear 16-year-old Me” features a collection of melanoma survivors and family members speaking to their younger selves, giving the advice they wish they could’ve received and may have prevented them or a loved one from developing the cancer. Launched May 2, the start of Melanoma Awareness Month, the video has become an Internet phenomenon, ranking more than 9 million views on YouTube to date.
The DCMF was launched in 2007 by Toronto’s Sari Cornfield in loving memory of her husband, David, who died in 2005 after a fierce, prolonged battle with melanoma. The fund’s purpose is to promote awareness of the disease, and educate people about how to avoid becoming susceptible to the cancer.
“It’s a terrible cancer; it’s very aggressive and there’s not a lot of treatment options for people that develop it in the later stages,” Cornfield tells Samaritanmag. “Melanoma is a very treatable cancer if caught early.”
The video was released just in time for summer, apt considering that the risk of melanoma can be significantly decreased with ultraviolet (UV) protection, such as sunscreen. Adam Perzow, a melanoma survivor and friend of Cornfield’s who gave his story for the video, advises: “Enjoy your life in the sun, but cover up with sunscreen and be smart.” Nearly all melanoma cases are associated with severe ultraviolet exposure. Having one bad sunburn before turning 18 doubles the chances of developing the cancer.