This week’s event spotlight features the Outpacing Melanoma 5k. We had the privilege to sit down with the founder and president of the Outpacing Melanoma Foundation, Kelly Klover, for an interview. The 5th Annual Outpacing Melanoma 5k will take place on May 1st, 2016 in Corporate Woods Office Park.
Give us a little history on Outpacing Melanoma.
“Outpacing Melanoma Foundation was established by my family in the fall of 2011 to honor the memory of my late-husband, Richard Klover, and to bring awareness to others about a cancer that is often misunderstood and underestimated. My husband had a mole on his back removed in February of 2005 that came back positive for melanoma. Following mohs surgery we had been told that they got it all and we should never have to worry. Five years later, we were stunned when Richard was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, and by the time we realized something was wrong, it was too late. It was hard to process how quickly the melanoma spread and yet we didn’t even realize something was seriously wrong. I felt compelled to do something so that others might avoid the same tragic experience that my family went through.”
What made you want to start the Outpacing Melanoma 5K race?
“The more I learned about melanoma, and the more I learned about how little others knew about the realities of melanoma and what it is capable of, the more determined I was to do something about it. At that time there were no other organized runs to fight melanoma in the state of Kansas. Melanoma is a cancer that does not discriminate so by holding a run, it allows us the opportunity to reach people of all ages.”
What has surprised you the most since starting up the Outpacing Melanoma Foundation and 5k race?
“I have been really surprised at the number of people that have been affected by melanoma because until recently, people just didn’t talk about it. Too many people still do not view melanoma as a serious issue. We hold our annual 5K race as a means to spread awareness and to encourage people to practice sun safe behaviors.”
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Tell us more about melanoma.
“Melanoma is the most common cancer among young people aged 25-29, and it is the 2nd most common cancer among 15-29 year olds. This is likely due to frequent use of tanning beds. Every eight minutes someone is diagnosed with melanoma and every 57 minutes someone dies of melanoma. Key things to look for when checking moles are the “ABCDE’s” which stand for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolving. It is essential to catch it early because it has the ability to spread very quickly throughout the body and to other major organs.”
What are the funds raised at the Outpacing Melanoma race used for?
“All proceeds support our local community and the Kansas City region. We fund melanoma research and the Melanoma Survivorship Clinic at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. And we are supporting the free skin cancer screenings at KU Medical Center on “Melanoma Monday” May 2nd. We feel it is necessary to devote resources to melanoma awareness and education and plan to hold free skin cancer screenings in Salina and Manhattan this summer as well.”
Kelly, any final words you would like to leave us with in regards to the Outpacing Melanoma Foundation and Race?
“Our slogan is “Don’t Delay; Get √ Today!” Melanoma is the easiest of all cancers to self-detect, yet when not caught early enough it is among the most malignant and incurable of all cancers. Our intent is not to scare people but at the same time we want them to take it seriously. Every year I hear people say they are “dying for a tan,” and little do they know that that tan can in fact kill them.”