When the Coyne family lost their daughter to a battle with melanoma, they wanted to turn their experience into something positive for those still fighting.
The New Hyde Park-based Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign (CCMAC) was founded in honor of Colette Coyne who died just two weeks after her 30th birthday.Coyne's mother, also Colette, hopes her family's effort will keep her daughter's memory alive.
The foundation will be hosting a fundraiser this Saturday at Wantagh's Mulcahy's Pub and Concert Hall in efforts of raising additional funds for research and support in the fight against melanoma. Saturday's fundraiser will kick off at the Wantagh venue at 5 p.m. with live music by Nonstop to Cairo, raffles, games, dinner and more.
"Witnessing Colette’s unending pain and suffering, as well as her outstanding courage when she was told she was terminal three months after her diagnosis, and subsequent death two and a half months later, proved to be overwhelming, devastating and yet a time of grace for the family," Coyne said.
Since its founding more than a decade ago, CCMAC has strived to make a difference, to spread awareness about their daughter's silent killer through school-based initiatives and outside fundraisers.
"As a result of [our] middle and high school educational programs the foundation became aware of the widespread use of tanning beds by teens that were unaware of their deadly danger," Coyne explained. "Speaking before the Nassau County Legislature resulted in the Colette Coyne Skin Cancer Prevention Bill  restricting tanning bed use for minors."
"In June, CCMAC, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, was successful in totally banning bed use for those under 17 years of age," she added. "[Our] annual Miles for Melanoma Walk/Run held in Eisenhower Park continues to be a support to those touched by skin cancer and free skin cancer screenings held around Long Island have proven to be lifesaving for some participants."
"Someone dies every hour from this disease," Coyne said. "Melanoma is still underpublicized and underfunded. When CCMAC was created in 1999, Statistics indicated one in 75 individuals would be diagnosed with melanoma. The current update indicates one in 50 will get melanoma."