Two Families Turn Tragedy into Something Good

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is proud to partner with various organizations around the country to spread the word on sun safety and skin cancer prevention. Last fall, Blue Lizard had the privilege to be a part of The Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk: Miles for Melanoma in Apex, NC. This is the story of the two families who started this walk after each lost a young daughter to melanoma.

Amanda Wall and Corey Haddon never knew one another in life but will be forever connected after their untimely deaths.

Their stories are similar. Both young women attended East Carolina University around the same time. Both were young, just 26 and 28, respectively, at the time of their passing. Both were in the prime of their lives, beginning careers and falling in love.Years later, unbeknownst to them, they would pass each other in the same waiting room at Duke University Hospital, while they each waited to hear their fate.

Amanda and Corey’s lives were cut short when they were diagnosed with melanoma, the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 years old according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.They both fought a long and hard fight to beat the disease, but ultimately lost their brave battles.

It’s almost serendipitous then that Amanda and Corey’s parents’ paths would also cross after their daughters’ passing. Corey’s parents, Chap and Diane Haddon, had walked the difficult road of losing a child a couple of years earlier than Amanda’s parents, so had been regularly attending Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have lost children, in Raleigh, NC. After Amanda’s passing in 2010, Don and Rebecca Jones turned to the same group for support. Diane Haddon recognized Rebecca from that time just a few years earlier in theDuke Hospital waiting room. Diane struck up a conversation with Rebecca and a special friendship and partnership was born.

The two families joined together to honor their girls’ memory while also raising awareness of melanoma and raising funds for the Melanoma Research Foundation. In 2011, they held the first annual Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk: Miles for Melanoma in Apex, NC. In the first year, they had 200 walkers and raised $28,000. Each consecutive year, the event has grown and the total amount raised has continued to increase.

“We wanted to do something so that our daughters’ deaths were not in vain,” said Don Jones, step-father of Amanda. “So we worked with the Haddons and other friends and family to see what we could do to make something good out of a bad situation.”

The group laid the groundwork for a committee that identified three main goals as their mission: 1) keep the memories of Amanda and Corey alive, 2) raise awareness to the dangers of melanoma and 3) raise funds for melanoma research and education. They have accomplished all three goals in just four years.

Cumulatively, they have raised more than $150,000 that went directly to the Melanoma Research Foundation.

“Our No. 1 goal for creating the Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk was to raise awareness for melanoma,” said Don. “People don’t realize how deadly melanoma is. We hear so much about lung cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, how deadly these cancers are, and they are, but no one talks about the dangers of melanoma. If melanoma is diagnosed in the later stages, there is only a 5 percent survival rate. We need to make people more aware so it can be diagnosed earlier, when the prognosis is better.”

“Corey’s and Amanda’s spirits still live and brought our two families together to try and make a difference in the lives of others,” Don added.

Amanda’s and Corey’s stories are powerful and shed the light on why melanoma awareness and early detection are so crucial.

To learn more about the Amanda Wall-Corey Haddon Memorial Walk and their stories, visit www.amanda-corey.com.

March 09, 2015 by Blue Lizard Staff
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