The facts: Melanoma, although not as common as others of similar characteristics, is unarguably the most serious as far as categories of skin cancer. Indeed, in 2017, an estimation of nearly 10,000 victims will meet their demise at the cost of the deadly disease in the United States alone. The goal: To educate of this ever-pestilent evil, as well as emphasize means in which to prevent it. The path: To raise awareness through community happenings not unlike that which occurs year after year in rural Mabel, Minn., itself, an event known as Run from the Sun.
This proceeding, annually held the second Saturday in August, recently capped off its third consecutive success on August 12, with a registration of an impressive 146 participants. However, there is a lot more behind the function than one may initially perceive or what first meets the eye.
Not only does Run from the Sun feature a 5K/10K Run/Walk, but also a pancake breakfast hosted by the Mabel Lions Club, face painting, a courtesy Bloody Mary and Summer Shandy bar, door prizes, free skin cancer screenings, and complimentary post-race stretching by Winneshiek Medical Center.
The money raised is used to provide two $600 scholarships to seniors of the current Mabel-Canton graduating class. In the near future, organizers of the indisputably widely rewarding occasion hope to expand the scholarship opportunities to neighboring communities as well. In addition, coordinators have also continually bought and donated sunscreen to local schools, programs, and other races. As for the pancake breakfast, all proceeds are donated directly to the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Despite the vast number of activities already behind Run from the Sun, regarding possible prospective changes or progressions, directors plan to maintain the focus to the race and skin screenings. Through this, the hope is to reiterate that the key to prevention is something as simple as annual examination, as well as provide a handful of the vast amount of literature available on the topic for the sole purpose of education and achieving public awareness. The recent inclusion of face painting has aided in increased family participation, and one can expect sustained determination in forthcoming years in attracting more people.
So, as many may be asking, how does such an event exactly come to be, especially when taking into consideration the fulfillment of such prosperity year after year? With the nearest affair even remotely similar occurring in Rochester, Carl and Steph Westby made it their mission to unite smaller communities through such, teaming up with both the Mabel’s ‘50s and ‘60s Days committee, who was aiming to add supplementary forms of entertainment to their scheduled weekend, as well as Marilyn Eiken, who lost her husband, Tye, to melanoma.
Steph, employed in the field of Dermatology, developed firsthand experience in realizing the demand and need for awareness of skin cancer in its entirety while in her line of work. Her husband, Carl, supportive of the idea, sustained contact with Marilyn throughout the course of the first run, knowing of her wishes to use the money raised from Tye’s benefit to begin and preserve the offering of a scholarship in his name. Giving in to the obvious and undeniably reasonable opportunity to combine their efforts, the Run from the Sun/Tye Eiken Scholarship was born.
With the prevalent disease affecting countless families day after day, along with Marilyn’s unfortunate personal connection to this particular skin cancer, Run from the Sun will continue to destine to accomplish its three primary goals, perhaps best stated by the strong melanoma activist herself as, “to encourage people to CHECK their skin, to advocate individuals to PROTECT their skin, and to EDUCATE as many people as possible, for the love of Tye.”