Shaelyn was diagnosed with stage III melanoma when she was just six years old. What appeared to be a stubborn wart was actually a deadly form of skin cancer. Pediatric melanoma is rare, affecting only about one in 10 million children. It’s not necessarily caused by sun exposure but often by a genetic defect that leads to cell abnormalities.
Because it’s so rare, treatment options for children are the same as for adults. The goal of Shae’s first surgery was to see if the melanoma had spread to any lymph nodes. It had. Shae then underwent surgery in which two salivary glands and 52 lymph nodes were removed.
Today Shae is healthy and strong, and shows no evidence of cancer. She still receives regular dermatology checks, CT scans, and MRI scans to check for any spread of the disease.
“Shaelyn’s motto through it all has been ‘Sometimes you just have to be brave,’” says her mom. “She is our strength!”