"Cancer touches each of our lives in a very different and personal ways."
I come from a large family, including, four brothers and three sisters. My brothers Michael (left), Dennis (center) and I thought we would have our entire lives together to share the many experiences ahead of us. That all changed in 1967...
In 1967, Michael felt a lump on the top of his head. After seeing his doctor, Michael was told he had Stage IV malignant melanoma. At the time, there were few treatment options available. Michael had the tumor removed; however there was lymph node involvement.
While completing his final year of law school, he had radical neck surgery. Michael was a fighter. He didn't drop out of law school; he kept on studying law. Michael was also very competitive. He had to outdo his older brother Dennis, who graduated #2 from University of Florida Law School the year before, with honors.
Michael graduated #1 in his class with very high honors. We hoped his experience with cancer was over. However, despite his sheer determination to live and the valiant efforts of his medical team, Michael lost his battle with melanoma in April of 1979.
Since then, our mother and father both died of cancer. My wife Priscilla is a survivor of breast cancer. Our daughter Debbie is a survivor of cervical cancer. Dennis and I were also diagnosed with malignant melanoma. However, because of early detection and prompt treatment, we are both survivors.
It was Michael's death that led me to seek public office in order to improve the lives of others. A highlight of my Senate career was the successful bipartisan effort to double the research budget of the National Institutes of Health over five years. While we have made strides in the understanding of melanoma, much work remains.
The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) is helping to fund groundbreaking research that will accelerate progress toward a cure for melanoma. Your support of the MRA is vital to help make this dream a reality."
- Connie Mack, United States Senate (Ret.)