A young mother, Tawny Willoughby, 27, suffering from skin cancer is being praised for her bravery, after sharing a shocking selfie of skin damage due to tanning.
In the snapshot, which has been shared over 50,000 times, the Alabama nurse shows her face covered with bloody scars and blisters. She writesWill: “If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here you go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like.”
As a teenager growing up in Kentucky, Willoughby admits that she used tanning beds four or five times a week.
“I had my own personal tanning bed in my home and so did a lot of my friends growing up … everyone tanned,” she told CNN. “I didn’t really even think about the future or skin cancer at the time.”
It was just six years ago that one of Willoughby’s nursing school classmates was diagnosed with melanoma, leading her to make her first dermatology appointment. At just 21 years old, Willoughby was told she had skin cancer. She has since been treated for basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once.
Willoughby now visits her dermatologist every six to 12 months and “usually has a skin cancer removed at each checkup.”
We applaud this young woman for her stark warning to tanning bed users. Although Caucasians are the primary victims of skin cancer, anyone, regardless of skin color, can fall prey to it. Celebrities like legendary reggae musician Bob Marley suffered from skin cancer. What was dismissed as a soccer injury under his toenail turned out to be an aggressive form of melanoma that ultimately caused his death at 36.