As we rake leaves, dig out our mothers’ pie recipes or make travel plans for Thanksgiving week, it’s a good time to remember that feeling grateful is not just good for our mental health. Studies suggest it may also help improve heart health, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. (Hey, we work with doctors, so we like to include some science!)
With that in mind, our colleagues at The Skin Cancer Foundation share their thoughts on thankfulness.
I often think about how thankful I am to be a part of The Skin Cancer Foundation, an organization that cares about people. I see the results of our work every day. My wife, Noël, is a nurse practitioner who has dedicated her life to helping others, and I’m proud to say that our two sons, who are now in college, are setting themselves up to contribute in their own way. I am especially thankful for the people around me who make this feeling possible.
— Dan Latore, executive director
I am thankful that The Skin Cancer Foundation gives me the opportunity to engage with researchers working diligently to increase our understanding of skin cancers, to partner with talented dermatologists who provide such wonderful care to patients and to collaborate with my coworkers who are so passionately devoted to confronting skin cancer. It’s truly inspiring and leaves me deeply grateful.
— Paul Melia, director of operations
I’m thankful that I live in the heart of New York City, close to our SCF office, dear friends and a fantastic farmers’ market in Union Square, with a bountiful harvest of colorful ingredients for Thanksgiving. (Have you hugged a squash today?) I’m also grateful for my 13 skin cancer scars and all the brilliant and caring dermatologists and Mohs surgeons who have sliced, diced, diagnosed and stitched me up. They’re why I’m passionate about this cause. — Julie Bain, senior director, science & education
I’m grateful for my career in beauty and health editorial that has recently led me to The Skin Cancer Foundation, where I can use my skill set to help save lives and end skin cancer. I’m also thankful for “my village” helping with my three children and two pups as I transition back into a full-time job for the first time in over a decade.
— Krista Bennett DeMaio, senior editor, science & education
I’m particularly thankful for my circle of friends. Most of us have known each other since college, and we’ve added new friends and partners to our group along the way. Over the years, we’ve all faced significant challenges and leaned on each other for guidance and support. We’ve mourned our losses, celebrated our victories and cheered each other on. Many of us are parents, and family obligations keep us from getting together as often as we used to. But whenever we do get together, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to have all these special people in my life.
— Becky Kamowitz, senior director of marketing communications
Each day, I’m excited to get up and go to work for the Foundation. That is an incredible feeling. I love how dedicated we are to the Foundation’s mission of saving and improving lives. It is amazing what this small but mighty group of caring and passionate people can accomplish!
— Victoria Kopec, director of marketing communications
I’m so thankful to live in this beautiful city, and for the ability to say it has truly become my home. New York has challenged and inspired me at every turn, and the people here show it’s possible to be kind, imaginative and hardworking all at once. And, of course, unreasonably defensive about their pizza.
— Ali Venosa, marketing communications manager
I’m thankful for my boyfriend, family, friends that I adore — and my wonderful job doing corporate fundraising at The Skin Cancer Foundation with colleagues who are outstanding both professionally and personally. I’m also grateful for my good health that I maintain through healthy eating, working out, meditating, journaling and taking care of my skin. With 10+ years at the Foundation, I know all too well how important it is to use sun protection, seek shade and not bake in the sun. I’m super thankful I can help save and improve lives from skin cancer, which has been extremely rewarding.
— Nancy Helman, corporate development manager
I’m thankful that I was drafted into the Army in 1953, where I was lucky to get to work in pediatrics at Tokyo Army Hospital. That led me to medical school, which led me to dermatologic surgery, where I performed 47,000 Mohs surgeries in 49 years of practice and taught my skills to others. I’m also grateful I was able to create The Skin Cancer Foundation in 1979 — and to celebrate my 92nd birthday in 2022 and see all my old friends at our Gala after the pandemic absence.
— Perry Robins, MD, founder
This year I am thankful to be international again! Travel has always been a part of my life, so I was thrilled to be back in Buenos Aires, Argentina (a city I got to know well as a high school exchange student there) in October for the 2022 World Congress on Cancers of the Skin. It was energizing to hear from world leaders on the latest research and cutting-edge treatments, especially in the field of melanoma. I was inspired and reminded, at the most basic level, why I decided to become a dermatologist and commit much of my life to fighting skin cancer.
— Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president