Conversation with Alana Cerrone – Esteemed Host of Our Martinis for Melanoma Event

Apr 21, 2021

On May 20th, IMPACT is pleased to once again present our Martinis for Melanoma event (virtually this year)! Historically, the event brings people together to raise awareness about melanoma and the dangers of tanning in a fun, social environment. This year’s event will be hosted by the wonderfully engaging Alana Cerrone, a Rhode Island native, born and raised in Cumberland and later graduating from Mount Saint Charles Academy. After graduation, she took off for Villanova University, right outside of Philadelphia. Alana was formerly at ABC6 in Providence, joining the team in 2013, and working her way from weekend reporter, to weekday reporter, to weekend anchor, before settling in as weeknight evening anchor. But now, she’s on to other ventures, which include hosting our event!

Keep reading to learn more about Alana and her mission. And definitely feel free to join all of us on the 20th!

Here’s our recent conversation with Ms. Cerrone:

Tell us about yourself. What’s your day-to-day to look like?

I recently left an 8-year career working in TV news. In early March, I became the Press Secretary for Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, but after only a few days on the job I welcomed my second child, a few weeks early! So my days are somewhat chaotic caring for “two under two” while learning the ropes of a new career, but luckily I tend to thrive in fast-paced environments!

How’d you learn about IMPACT Melanoma? How’d you initially engage with them? What makes the organization stick out to you?

I learned about IMPACT Melanoma on Instagram a couple of years ago, where I saw a post about their upcoming Martinis for Melanoma event. At the time, my family and I were reeling from the loss of a loved one from melanoma. I researched IMPACT’s mission and appreciated its focus on education and prevention. Reducing the incidence of skin cancer is a team effort that requires buy-in from individuals, parents, communities, and really every other part of our day-to-day lives, and I felt that IMPACT recognized the need to bring those key players into the conversation. I wanted to get involved in outreach and education, so I contacted Amy Mason and Debbie Barshay to learn how I could help, and the rest is history!

What led you to decide to get involved with IMPACT and host the upcoming Martinis for Melanoma event?

I felt connected to IMPACT’s mission and was driven by the idea that we can make a difference in educating the public about skin cancer and prevention. Debbie and I thought that my experience emceeing events would make me a good host. Plus, with two young kids at home, I could really use a martini.

Tell us about the event. What’s it all about? What are you looking forward to? What are you hoping to accomplish?

Martinis for Melanoma, first of all, is FUN. Especially in the midst of this pandemic, we could all use an excuse to let loose and virtually cheers to safe skin. The event offers a night of socializing, coupled with the education that is necessary to prevent melanoma and save lives. We will be tuning in for live music from local musician Becky Bass along with some martini-making demos and, of course, a chance to bid on auction items. I’m hoping that the event gets our message across to more and more people – that tanning is dangerous and that practicing safe skin is in.

What do you appreciate about IMPACT’s quest to raise awareness and help combat against skin cancer, and, to play a role in this very thing? 

I think that there are many misconceptions about skin cancer. I grew up in the tanning bed-era, where being VERY tan was in. It seemed everyone had a membership to a local tanning salon. We used tanning oils instead of sunscreen. And we thought that sun damage lasted only as long as our sunburn. But learning about the dangers of sun exposure, even in the smallest amount, and the damage that it does is truly eye-opening. IMPACT breaks down the dangers in the simplest of ways by offering cold hard facts that anyone and everyone can relate to. I’m happy to play a role in spreading awareness, especially because it’s this information that changed my perceptions of tanning.

I understand you have a personal story of your own as it pertains to sun safety awareness and combating against the sun’s UV rays, etc. Tell us about it.

I grew up loving the sun, and as a swimmer I spent every single summer day outside from sunup to sundown. As a Rhode Islander, I cherished time on the water. As a young girl growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I thought being tan was “in”. My parents and other adults would remind me to put on sunscreen and shake their heads when I would come home with a sunburn. Later, I learned that a loved one had battled melanoma in the past. She loved the outdoors, especially water sports like kayaking, surfing, and paddleboarding. She had years of sun damage that caught up with her, and she had a cancerous mole removed. After that, she was adamant about safe sun practices – always covering up in the sun and liberally applying sunscreen. But years later, the melanoma came back. It attacked her brain and liver and lungs, and within 9 months of her diagnosis, she died. Aside from our devastation at her loss, I also felt compelled to spread awareness of her story. Her death made skin cancer feel real. If she had been more cautious in her younger years, would she still be alive today? Are there things I should be changing in my own safe skin routine to help protect myself? How can I make sure that everyone else I love realizes the risks of unsafe sun exposure? Those questions have stayed with me.

What’s your battle cry sound like with regard to getting surrounding communities in your area, and across the globe, to adopt a proactive approach to helping combat skin cancer? 

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., but YOUR diagnosis is up to you. According to the American Cancer Society ‘Cancer Facts & Figures 2021’,  the number of people diagnosed with invasive melanoma has been on the rise since the mid-1970s, but because most skin cancer cases and deaths are caused by exposure to UV radiation, they are potentially preventable. And there are clear-cut guidelines on how to prevent skin cancer, so being proactive could prove to save lives. The power to reduce the risk of a deadly cancer is literally in your hands (and in your sunscreen).

Is it strange to host a virtual martini hoisting event, or is it more convenient because you don’t have to worry about travel accommodations afterward? 

We typically think of drinking martinis while we’re with our friends, out to dinner, or mingling at happy hour. But we’ve ALL adapted this past year and had to change so many aspects of our lives, so hosting a virtual anything is pretty much the norm now! But there are benefits to a virtual martini night: you don’t have to worry about getting dressed up (but of course you totally should if you want to), and you don’t have to worry about driving home.

Is there anything further you’d like to add? 

I hope people can tune in to our virtual event, or one of the various others IMPACT Melanoma hosts year-round. I think people would be surprised to learn about sun dangers, cancer prevention, and safe sun practices, but hopefully walk away feeling empowered to take charge of their health and reduce their risk of skin cancer. Hope to see you there!

For further information, click here.

Recent Posts

Be SunSafe 365