Survivor. LiveStrong. VOTE NOW.

Every once in awhile someone makes their way in to your life for no apparent reason.  Slowly over time you learn more and more about that person and realize what a true inspiration he or she is.  That's Brooke.  I don't even remember how exactly we met - my assumption is through her older brother Brett - which for the record, I don't even remember how we met.  I do remember living in the same dorm as her freshman year in Oliver at KU, but the most I probably did was smile at her in passing.  I always thought she was so beautiful though and seemed so full of zest.  Just take a quick peak at this picture and I'm sure you can agree that yes, she is gorgeous.  Not only is she beautiful physically, but she is also just as beautiful if not more spiritually.  I don't even know her that well (we're working on that), but there are certain people who you come across in your life and you just know.  She's one of them.

"...the scar on my stomach
reminds me every day to protect my skin"
-Brooke Budke
Little did I know, Brooke has quite a history.  Six years ago she was diagnosed with Melanoma - a deadly form of skin cancer.  I can't even imagine being the young age of 21 and being diagnosed with CANCER.  According to Brooke, the cancer spread through all 4 layers of her skin in her abdomen.  They were able to excise the tumor before it spread any further in to her abdomen and lymph nodes.  Thank God.  After being cancer free for six years, she still diligently checks her skin for any changes and sees her dermatologist annually.

So what's all this mean?  Well, Brooke has entered a contest to be styled by Athleta, a clothing site for women a wide variety of athletic clothing for fitness, yoga, running and even swimwear.  AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE SURE SHE WINS!  Had I known sooner, I would have posted this MUCH sooner, but TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE.  I'm asking you, my AWESOME blog readers to please, please, please take a moment to vote here.

Being on track to becoming a physician assistant, I must throw in a little health education, especially with summer coming up.  Melanomas typically develop from pigmented skin lesions already present on your body, such as from moles or nevi as we like to call them in the medical world.  Common sites are on the face, arms and other sun exposed areas.  Think you have any suspicious skin lesions?  Use the ABCDs to help determine and call your doctor to be seen.


Assymetry: Does one side look different from the other?
Borders: Are the borders of the skin lesion irregular, notched or blurred?
Color: Are the colors uneven and different with various shades of brown, black or tan?
Diameter: Is the skin lesion larger than 6mm (think of a pencil eraser)?
Evolving: Is the skin lesion growing faster than other skin lesions you have?

If you answered yes to any of these, get it checked out!!  Don't waste any time!  For more information and some pictures of various types of melanoma to look and compare to, check out this PubMed Health website.

I challenge everyone to drop your draws, get, get, get naked and check your body out from head to toe today in honor of Brooke.  Oh and of course....

-Stay Sassy, xo

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