Tracy Callahan heard the words “you have melanoma” for the first time four years ago. Since then, this mother of two has heard those words repeated four times. Thankfully, each time she was diagnosed early and required only surgery for treatment. Tracy has dedicated herself to advocating for early detection and greater awareness of melanoma; and in 2015, she founded the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation. The name comes from a nickname her son gave her when he said: “My Mom is special because she is polka dotted with moles.”
To date, the Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation has raised over $300,000 for melanoma research, awareness and early detection efforts. The organization has raised awareness throughout NC and the US and has provided over 300 people with free skin cancer screenings through the Shade Shuttle, a refurbished school bus turned into a mobile skin cancer screening unit.