Being a professional golfer means I spend most of time in the sun, which has proven to be a very dangerous thing. I found out first hand just how dangerous when I decided to go to the doctor to have my moles checked out. Since melanoma is hereditary, I thought it was the best thing to do. I wasn’t prepared for what I was about ready to be told. I too had melanoma. Thankfully mine was in the earliest of stages and could be removed surgically. I have had over 22 moles removed, some malignant and others all precancerous. I now take much safer precautions in the sun by using sunblock and wearing SPF and UV clothing through one of my sponsors, UVSkinz. I am one of the fortunate ones as melanoma is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing cancers.
One person every hour dies from melanoma. It is most common in men over 50 and is the second most common in people of ages 15-29. I’ve made Melanoma Cancer my platform for my golfing career. I am raising awareness and money, as I give a percentage of all money earned and donated to Melanoma Research Foundation in hopes that one day there will be a cure. Many new treatments have come out, even since mom was diagnosed, that are showing great results and are prolonging the lives of many stage IV patients. We’ve seen little children to the elderly fighting this battle. We’ve lost many close friends whom we’ve met in the melanoma community. I dedicate my career to melanoma and to all warriors, survivors, angels and families that have been affected by melanoma, but especially those that have touched the life of my mom and our family.
On my golf bag I have a circle which I call the Circle of Hero’s with the initials of each of the following people - Chris Henry, Brandi Dickey, Brianna Collins, Barbara Riggins, Grace Jarrell, all who are currently fighting melanoma, Kerry Spindler, Vicki Curran, Lori Frederick, all who are survivors and give us hope, Casey James, Tina Miller, Brian Perry, Jennifer Thomas, Shirely Paey, Michael Schwink, Jason Kane, Keri McCarthy, Raymond Newman, Duane Miller, Samantha Channels, all who fought the battle and have gained their wings. Every time I take a club out of my bag or get a ball I look at the circle and I’m reminded it’s not all about what I do on the golf course, but what I’m doing through my career. Becoming a professional golfer takes lots of hard work, practice and money. It’s a struggle to find people who want to help through sponsorship or investing, especially someone like myself who is basically an “unknown.” However, I have faith in myself, my talent and my profession that I will continue pursuing my dream, spreading awareness and raising money for melanoma research. I will be holding my first golf tournament, called ‘David Henry’s 1st Annual Playing For A Cure Pro-Am’ on October 20, 2012 at the Reunion Resort Watson Course, Reunion, FL. Proceeds will go to the Melanoma Research Foundation and a scholarship through the Circle of Heroes.
I urge everyone to be safe in the sun, not use tanning beds and to get their skin checked. I never thought any of this would have happened to my mom, myself and our family but melanoma shows no mercy nor prejudice. I will continue on the road that I’m meant to be on. I will continue hitting that little white golf ball. I will continue raising melanoma awareness and giving back for research. I hope to be remembered not only for what I did on the golf course, but for what I did for melanoma, raising awareness and money.
To read further about my career and melanoma please visit my website at http://www.playingforacure.