For Myke Fortier, running the 2023 127th Boston Marathon was non-negotiable, despite the fact that, admittedly, he was not a runner.
Compelled to honor his father-in-law, who passed away from melanoma in 2016, following a 2015 diagnosis, Myke made the decision to follow in his wife’s footsteps — quite literally!
An unexpected legacy
Colleen Fortier trained and completed the 2017 Boston Marathon, marking the year following her father’s death, which inspired Myke to lace up and continue raising awareness about melanoma and the effects it has on their family.
As the saying goes, timing is everything, and Myke’s application to run with the IMPACT Melanoma team was accepted in December 2021, right as the 18-week training schedule started.
Reflecting on his experience, Myke recalls “The camaraderie was great with Team IMPACT.”
Although training during a typical New England winter is certainly not ideal, Myke pushed through snowy, dark weeknight runs, while raising nearly $15,000 for Team IMPACT.
For Myke, “seeing the proof of fundraising and helping people,” inspired him to remain involved with IMPACT Melanoma following the marathon.
Finding an opportunity in Ipswich
Myke didn’t have to look far to find an opportunity to continue his work with IMPACT Melanoma.
After meeting with Ipswich town management, Myke successfully organized the installation of five automatic sunscreen dispensers, as part of IMPACT’s Practice Safe Skin program.
According to Myke:
“Colleen and I thought it would be a great opportunity to continue to spread awareness and provide sunscreen to our community through the Practice Safe Skin program. After working with Practice Safe Skin Manager, Laurie Seavey, and presenting the idea to Town Manager, Stephen Crane, we were able to agree on locations. All of my marathon training runs were on the streets of Ipswich. To be able to see the generous donations being put to use in our town is truly special.”
What does Practice Safe Skin mean?
In 2014, the then acting U.S. Surgeon General, Boris D. Lushniak called for a nationwide effort to prevent skin cancer. IMPACT Melanoma launched the Practice Safe Skin program, which has resulted in the installation of more than 7,000 free automatic sunscreen dispensers throughout the country.
The IMPACT didn’t escape the notice of NBC Nightly News, which featured Practice Safe Skin to show how free sunscreen lowers skin cancer rates in Northeast and the bright yellow dispensers were even featured in an episode of The Simpsons.
If you’re interested in making a difference like Myke in your community, contact Laurie Seavey, Practice Safe Skin Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org