This site was created to educate and spread awareness of melanoma (skin cancer) through materials, lectures and community events. Addison’s Army Against Melanoma consists of those individuals who have chosen to join the ranks to fight for Addison. They are family, friends, supporters, volunteers, contributors and people just like you!
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. In addition to the surface of the skin, melanoma can also metastasize to internal organs and structures within the body.
Both mother and daughter, Briana and Addison, were diagnosed with metastasized malignant melanoma. During the summer of 2011, 32 year old Briana had just recently found out that she was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma for the second time in her young life, just months after giving birth to her second child, little Addison. With Briana’s new diagnosis, her immediate concern was not about herself but of the health of her newborn baby girl. The doctors initially assured her that baby Addison would be fine, and that the chance of mother-to-fetus cancer transfer was exceedingly rare. Briana’s motherly instinct kicked in and being a stubborn, fierce, red-headed “bulldog,” she insisted on having her daughter tested, especially after noticing some peculiar markings on Addison’s scalp. Heart-wrenching results: their infant daughter, at the mere age of 3 months old, was also diagnosed with Stage IV metastasized malignant melanoma.
Lymphoma, leukemia and melanoma are the three known culprits whose molecular makeup is small enough to actually cross the placenta, melanoma being the most common, which is what happened in this case. It is exceedingly rare, and at the time of Addison’s diagnosis, there had only been nine documented cases in the entire world, and the first case ever in Arizona. Her tiny little body is riddled with over a dozen tumors. They are scattered from head to toe: 5 in her brain alone, on her shoulder, spine, heart, liver, lungs, thigh, knee, and even one on the back of her tongue. Looking at her you can’t believe what her tiny body is fighting. If she is experiencing any pain, she certainly doesn’t act like it in any way. All she does is smile and laugh and play. She is continuing to grow as a normal—now 18 month old—toddler should. She’s walking, talking, learning, growing, and continuously stealing hearts!
Sadly, Briana was called to heaven in February, 2012 at the young age of 33. She is survived by her husband, 2 stepsons, their son and their daughter. Our mission is to continue on with Briana’s dream of creating awareness about melanoma, which we will do through materials, lectures and community events.