GEORGETOWN — As Georgetown middle and high school students realized yesterday, cancer can strike anyone at any time, including members of the Red Sox family.
Kelly Pedroia, wife of Red Sox All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, visited Georgetown High School yesterday to tell her story of being diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, at age 18.
"In high school I loved the sun and the feeling of being tan," Pedroia said. "As a sophomore in high school, I started going to the tanning salons without protection. Senior year I took a job at a water park to work on my tan, and in college I went to the Caribbean with my family for spring break. Two and a half months later, I noticed a mole on my right thigh."
Pedroia, 26, is now cancer-free and has recently joined the Melanoma Foundation to raise awareness about the cancer which is diagnosed in a million and a half people a year. Pedroia is currently working with the foundation to create a new program called, "Skin is In," to raise awareness among teens.
"The mole on my thigh was raised, asymmetrical and had a red ring around it," Pedroia said. "When they told me it was melanoma, I said, 'mela-what?'"
Pedroia underwent surgery to remove an egg-sized area of her thigh but was back out in the sun the next day.
"I thought it would never come back," Pedroia said. "But guess what, it did."
After undergoing a second surgery to remove skin on a portion of her clavicle, Pedroia had more skin taken from her neck.
"I have four bad scars," Pedroia said. "Not a single one of them is worth my desire to have a tan."
Along with Executive Director of the Melanoma Foundation Deb Girard, Pedroia presented her story to students and offered sun safety tips before fielding two questions about her famous husband.