Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation Launches Shade Shuttle Bus Tour
By Pamela Goldsmith, MRA Director of Communications | 2 April 2017
Tracy Callahan, founder and CEO of the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation, established in 2015, has advocated for greater awareness of melanoma since she was first diagnosed with early stage melanoma at the age of 38. Nicknamed “polka dot mama” by her two young sons for her abundance of moles, Tracy continues using her voice to raise awareness by blogging and aligning herself with the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) to raise funds. In May 2016 she hosted Taste for a Cure: Chef’s Gala Benefiting Melanoma Research, a farm-to-table gala in her home state of North Carolina, raising $40K that was donated to MRA.
Taking her advocacy to the next level, Tracy, along with the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation, is about to launch Shade Shuttle, a multi-state bus tour dedicated to raising awareness and educating the community about melanoma. Planning for the tour was initiated after a school bus was donated by the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation and dedicated to Tara’s memory.
Tracy was introduced to the Miller family and its foundation in 2016 while attending the MRA annual Scientific Retreat. “I’m so grateful to MRA and the Melanoma Action Coalition for bringing us together and enabling us to share ideas and help each other in fundraising efforts,” says Callahan. “That’s what true collaboration is all about.”
The school bus is being painted and converted to a mobile education unit, offering free skin screenings by dermatologists. Highlights of the journey will be filmed and documented by a North Carolina digital agency to promote future multi-state tours and utilize coverage in subsequent awareness campaigns.
The polka dotted bus begins its journey in Egg Harbor, NJ with a first stop in Hoboken, NJ on April 10th, 2017, following with a stop in Richmond, VA before returning home to Raleigh, NC.