Stephanie Bowen

Stephanie Bowen (left), of Groveland, was given a 5% chance of living five years when she was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma cancer in 2010. She survived and was able to see her daughter (right) get married.

The Steps Against Melanoma Cancer Awareness Walk will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 14, at Woods Creek Rotary Park in Sonora.

The event, presented by the AIM at Melanoma Foundation and sponsored in part by UV Skinz, is free and open to anyone who would like to walk to support awareness and research of melanoma. The event will also bring together survivors and fighters of melanoma and honor those who have lost their lives to the cancer.

Volunteer event coordinator Stephanie Bowen, of Groveland, is a survivor of stage IV melanoma. She was first diagnosed with stage I melanoma in 2000 while working as a teacher at Greeley Hill Elementary School.

Bowen beat the cancer, known as the “Black Beast” because it spreads so fast and those diagnosed are often given a very small chance of living, but it came back in 2010. She was given a 5% chance of living five years at the time.

“Melanoma often becomes treatment resistant and I was treated with a rare and experimental treatment of biochemotherapy,” she said. “It is a combo of three chemo drugs and two immunotherapy drugs. This brutal treatment almost killed me.”

The AIM at Melanoma Foundation raises money for research to find a cure for the cancer, for which new treatments are still coming out to this day and allowing people to beat late-stage cancer more than ever, Bowen said.

Bowen has coordinated four other similar events in an effort to help raise awareness about the deadly disease.

“I am here to tell people to keep an eye on your skin,” she said. “Tanning is not healthy, and it is so important to protect your skin. I stayed alive for my family and made it to see my daughter married.”

Participants are encouraged to wear black.

To register, go online to aimatmelanoma.org, or call Bowen at (209) 768-6011.

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