About a year ago, Emily Tandy of Flowood discovered years of tanning delivered a life-threatening reminder: melanoma.
Today, she tells anyone who will listen to avoid tanning beds, to use sunscreen and to regularly check their bodies for skin cancer.
“I'm pale and I'm proud of it,” she said. “I'd rather be pale and alive than tan and dead any day.”
Her serious tanning habit started at 17 when she got a job at a tanning salon. In the 18 or so months she worked there, she said she probably tanned three times a week. “Then I'd lay out with friends on the weekend,” she said, rarely using sunscreen and brushing off her Mom's advice to cut back on the activity. “I did all that stupid stuff.”
College dampened her sunbathing time to “maybe three to four times a month.”
At 26, after she'd watched the middle of a freckle on her upper right thigh slowly darken over the previous year, she said she told her Mom, “This doesn't look right.”
This time, she took her mother's advice to have it checked out.