Melanie Chavous had something to celebrate Friday night at the North Augusta/Midland Valley Relay for Life.
Chavous was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer on April 9, 2012. At last year’s relay event, she was pushed in a wheelchair around North Augusta High School’s track.
This year, she walked in the event, leading the survivor lap, something she didn’t take for granted.
“Being a cancer survivor, I wanted to make something positive out of melanoma,” she said.
Chavous noticed a black freckle on her calf last year, something that wasn’t there before.
The area was .33 millimeters in size. Anything less than one millimeter is considered early detection. The early detection made a true difference, she said.
“I was very lucky,” she said.
She had excision surgery which required a one inch by three inch by one centimeter deep area to be removed.
In the time since her recovery, she has made it a mission to share her story with others.
Chavous, who is a North Augusta Public Safety school resource officer at North Augusta High School, has spoken to 10 science classes at the school, city employees and on Friday night, she shared her story during the opening ceremonies.
“I hope to encourage someone,” she said of her speech.
Throughout the event, members of 27 teams fundraised and walked the track including a team from North Augusta Public Safety.
This year’s goal was $35,000, said Kristin Bodkin, event chairwoman and survivor chairwoman. By the start of Friday’s event, the goal was already met.
“It’s awesome,” she said of the accomplishment.