In February, Stacy Blackmer noticed an unusual mole on her back. She went to have it checked out and in May the 34 year-old wife and mother learned she had Nodular Melanoma - a rare and deadly form of skin cancer.
"I really wasn't sure what it was so I just started scanning the internet trying to find out what exactly it was," said Blackmer.
Stacey had surgery to remove the melanoma but just three months later, the cancer returned and spread. She now has tumors on the left side of her body and liver and is working with a specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Some days she is in extreme pain but Blackmer says she is does her best to take everything in stride and try to stay positive. She and her husband have kept her 13 year-old daughter up to date with her medical diagnosis.
On Sunday November 3rd, Stacey's friends and family are hosting a benefit at Jakes Grub and Grog in Central Square. Donations will help pay for Stacey's treatment but it is also an opportunity for her to raise awareness of how serious skin cancer can be.
"I want people to know what it is and what it can do to you - and it is the one cancer that can be prevented," said Blackmer.
Stacey occasionally used tanning booths in the past and wants to be an advocate for better protection from the sun.
"If I can just have one person have a different outlook about going out in the sun or going tanning, that would make me happy. I'll feel I did what I was supposed to do," said Blackmer.
Her parents say the benefit and the chance to raise awareness have given Stacey's morale a boost.
"It's been stressful for her, planning the benefit but its also let her realize there are so many people who do care so much about her," said her mother Linda Horzempa.
There are good days and bad. Stacey's nodular melanoma is considered incurable but Stacey is hopeful a cure is just waiting to be found.
"I'm trying to not think about that word and do everything I can to make that word not part of my life," said Blackmer.
The benefit is Sunday, November 3rd at Jake's Grub and Grog on East River Road in Central Square. It's from 1-5 pm. Presale tickets are $20 and $25 at the door. Food and drink is included, and there will be live music and prizes.