About Addison’s Army Against Melanoma

about-brianna-addisonThis site was created to educate and spread awareness about 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 this devastating disease. 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.
The Story of Addison & Briana Cox

Both mother and daughter, Briana and Addison Cox, 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, 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 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, with Addison’s case being the first ever in Arizona. Her tiny little body was riddled with over a dozen tumors 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 wouldn’t believe what her tiny body was fighting. If she was experiencing any pain, she certainly doesn’t act like it in any way. All she did was smile and laugh and play. She continued to grow as a normal toddler should. She walked, talked, learned, grew, and continuously stole the hearts of those around her!

Briana was called to heaven on February 12, 2012 at the young age of 33. Addison’s health deteriorated during the summer of 2013, and sadly she also lost her lifelong battle with melanoma 1 1/2 years later after her Mommy on August 8, 2013. Briana is survived by her husband James Cox, their son, and 2 stepsons. The mission of Addison’s Army is to continue on with Briana’s dream of creating awareness about melanoma skin cancer.