**The following post is a part of our blog series that we will do each month as a part of our cancer observance mission information. These courageous cancer survivors are sharing their story…..the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But the great news, thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society, they are with us today and we hope these stories provide inspiration to all who read them.
Hi there! I am Jean Grieve and live in Fort Walton Beach, FL; I am originally from Virginia Beach, VA. In 2012, I was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer – Basal Cell Carcinoma. I will never forget those three words I heard on the phone while on a business trip, “You have cancer”! Talk about rocking my world! The woman on the other end of the phone said, “This is the best form of cancer to have!” While I could not understand or agree with her at the time, I knew I was extremely lucky and that it had been caught early thanks to my primary physician who referred me to a dermatologist to get some suspicious spots looked at.
I suppose all of those years in the sun and as a lifeguard caught up to me. Within a week or so of the phone call, I had several skin cancers frozen off both of my arms and then a huge hunk taken out of my right leg near my shin. It took weeks to heal, but it was better than the alternative. I have a beautiful scar to prove it. I am fortunate that I did not have to undergo any additional treatment in terms of chemo or radiation.
Prior to this, I had been actively involved with Relay For Life (since 2004) because I believed in the cause. I have served in various leadership roles, including being an Event Chair five times for two different Relays! Needless to say, when I took MY first Survivor Lap in 2013 at our local Relay For Life event it had a lasting and profound impact on me. I have also served (and continue to serve) in leadership roles for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Bark for Life, Galas, and ACS CAN. It is my mission to communicate to everyone that EARLY DETECTION CAN and DOES SAVE LIVES.
Thanks to my primary physician I am living proof. I continue to get my annual skin screenings and remain cancer free 11 years later. I lost my brother to prostate cancer in 2016 and my best friend to breast cancer in 2017 – I have also lost far too many family and friends to this awful disease over the years, but I also know just as many Survivors! I made a promise to my brother that I would “continue to be a voice for those who no longer have a voice” and “continue to fight for a cure as long as I am physically able to”. In that vein, I was fortunate enough to become a Voice of Hope in 2019 and currently serve as the VOH Southeast Region Lead. My volunteerism for ACS is my passion. I also enjoy playing Texas Hold’em Poker, volunteering for my church, gardening, and helping others. I will continue to support the mission of the American Cancer Society: Every Cancer Every Life.