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Coach Kristie: My skin cancer story

5/30/2014

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In September of 1997 I was like every 27 year old. Carefree, working, hanging out with friends, fairly newly married.   Invincible.   Until I heard the words “you have cancer”. It was melanoma. My life as I knew it would completely change after hearing those words. It also would not be the first or the last time those words “you have cancer” were spoken to me.

Fast forward to 2014. I have been in remission since August of 2009 when #10 melanoma was found on my stomach. I have learned a lot since 1997. I am NOT invincible. People you think who are your friends and loved ones either support you, or abandon you. I divorced and lost a lot of “friends” during my many cancer diagnoses. People have no idea how it hurts to hear “It’s JUST skin cancer”. Melanoma is deadly. It kills children, husbands, Moms, Dads, wives, friends, etc. every day. 

I am now very happily married and a Mom. I live my life as healthy and strong as I can for myself as well as my family. I have been diagnosed so many times I have the mindset that it will not be “if” I have Melanoma again, but “when”.

I have taken this passion for being healthy and strong and developed it into a career. I am an endurance athlete. Distance running is my passion. I am now a certified running and triathlon coach, helping others to be healthy and strong.

I am big advocate for sun safety. It doesn’t just end with applying sunscreen. It is about protecting and educating. Educating about dangers of sun exposure, sunscreen and reapplying, every day not just when outside, UV protective clothing. You have to be sun safe every day and make it apart of your life. I put on sunscreen every day, just like I get dressed every day. I also carry it with me to reapply throughout the day. Living in Las Vegas, it is hard to avoid the sun, but being smart I can protect myself as well as my family.

I would love to save the world from skin cancer. I could if everyone would do these simple things:

  1. wear sunscreen daily and reapply
  2. wear protective clothing and attempt to avoid the sun during it’s peak (10 am to 4pm)
  3. get your skin checked by a dermatologist, early detection is the key to survival
  4. avoid tanning beds
 

Kristie Cranford is a wife, mother, athlete and Coach for Team PRS FIT. She is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ITCA Certified Triathlon Coach, Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist, Kid's Nutrition Specialist.  A multiple cancer survivor, Kristie was featured by Runner’s World in the Runner’s World Challenger Blog. She is a Coolibar and Raw Elements Sunscreen ambassador.  She lives with her family in Las Vegas.