Spas for Facials, Massage, Skin Care, and Melanoma Awareness
May is Melanoma month. That makes sense since it’s right before summer, the sun gets stronger and people begin spending more time outdoors. It’s a good time to remind people to put on sunscreen, wear hats, and have regular mole checks with their medical doctor. It’s this last recommendation – about having moles checked – that I want to tell you about this year.
Our company decided to make melanoma awareness our philanthropic cause about five years ago. We did this for a variety of reasons. First and foremost because of the untimely death of my friend and colleague, Alex Szekely. Second, spas are places people feel comfortable disrobing and are often open to reminders from aestheticians and massage therapists to get checked for melanoma and to wear sunscreen.
Alex Szekely was the president of the Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta. I worked closely with him for quite a few years. Peter and Alex were also friends and rode motorcycles together. Alex was passionate about health and wellness. I remember one evening when Peter and I were with him and his wife Diane at his home…he was cooking up soy burgers – showing us the special way he was able to make them taste absolutely fantastic. Alex was very health-conscious, not only did he eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and get spa treatments regularly, but he also engaged others in his healthy lifestyle.
It is unfortunate that most of us didn’t know much about melanoma at the time. When Alex first noticed an unusual spot on his lower leg, he didn’t really pay attention to it for quite some time – after all he was so healthy. Finally, someone convinced him to see a doctor. By the time he found out it was melanoma skin cancer, it was already very far along. While some early interventions looked promising, in the end the melanoma had already progressed too far. What a terrible tragedy. Alex had two small children and was unable to see them grow up as he so longed to do.
Each year we help get the word out about melanoma awareness and this year we are doing it once again with our “I Reflect” Melanoma Awareness bracelets. (Think yellow Lance Armstrong bracelets…but these are a clear color and turn purple when exposed to the sun!) They are fun to wear, fun to give to others – even children get a kick out of them. Also, please take a look at the list of spas who have partnered with us in getting the word out. Even ISPA, the International Spa Association, recently announced they were going to support melanoma awareness. I am sure Alex would have been pleased.