Another "LIVESTRONG at the YMCA" Success Story


I wanted to share this story with each of you. Chad is an active member of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA in Boise, Idaho and Chad recently found out that he had melanoma during a free, skin cancer screening event the YMCA hosted. Another great story of how the YMCA’s are implementing programs that not only help cancer survivors, but also address other areas of the cancer control continuum. -Haley Justice

“Never before have I written a thank you to someone for actually saving my life. May be I would have found my melanoma tumor in time without your help, but I don’t honestly think so. Please send my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the staff at the YMCA for going through setting up and the expense for the free screening. It happened at just the right time for me.

I think it was more than just luck, that you caught me sneaking out, grabbed me, and told me you were sending me to the front of the line, when I signed up for the screening. I had what I thought was a spider bite on my arm which turned out to be a very rare form of melanoma. The visiting doctor at the YMCA, said I should have a biopsy done, when I did, my dermatologist, Dr, Mings told me that he was very surprised that it was cancerous because it was so small and non-typical. After 6 weeks, 3 incisions and as many biopsies, we discovered that it was actually a pretty big tumor and that the tumor was not typical because it was not creating melanin, We were really worried because it was invisible, except under a microscope and was probably growing fast. That was the bad news, the good news was that it was flat and had not gone deep enough to get into my bloodstream or into the lymph nodes. We were told by the doctors if they could just get a clear margin around the tumor I could rest easy. On December 28, we got the call we were waiting for, after 8 weeks of worry our doctor got the results of the 4th incision and biopsy and told us he got the whole tumor. A happy ending.

This story would be totally different and would likely have had a different outcome had it not been for you. Melanoma accounts for 85% percent of skin cancer deaths and once the tumor has had some time and gone deep enough to get into your blood stream and into the lymph system the chances for survival are not good. So from me and my whole family, Thank you.”

With gratitude,


Chad Ward's Scar

Chad Ward's Scar


  1. hey chad , i read your story i am so happy all is ok with you catherine. my husband died two yrs ago of cancer, i support any group that dose good for cancer, fondly catherine barnes high point nc

  2. gwen runyan says:

    Im so glad to hear your cancer was found early ! Iam also a survivor.I have myloma it is often confused with melanoma. My cancer has been in remission for three years because a very sharp doctor cought it very early. Im always so happy to hear about another survivor. gwen runyan

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