How Block the Blaze Began

The Block the Blaze (formerly the National Melanoma Awareness Project - Spot a Spot, Save a Life) began at UC Irvine School of Medicine as an extension of the Joel Myres Melanoma Awareness Project, which was founded in 2003 by a group of UCI medical students interested in teaching local teens about skin cancer. The program volunteers educated themselves first and then developed a curriculum aimed at a diverse teen population. In 2014 the John Wayne Cancer Foundation brought the program in house and it has since become the premier program of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. The project has since expanded rapidly and perhaps more exciting, the project is rapidly gaining national interest. Its adoption is currently underway in Southern California and across the country, and we are actively sharing project materials with all who are interested in joining us.

About Joel Erik Myres

At age 16, Joel was first diagnosed with melanoma after his mother recognized a changing mole on his neck. The melanoma was removed completely, and it did not appear to have spread outside the skin. Joel graduated high school, and decided to pursue a medical degree. In 1998, Joel began his time as a medical student at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine. He completed over two years at UCI and had begun a Fellowship of Pathology when he noticed a lump on his abdomen. The same doctors who were his teachers and role models were heartbroken to discover that the lump represented a metastatic focus of the original melanoma from so many years ago. Unfortunately Joel passed away on March 7, 2001 following a courageous and prolonged battle with melanoma.

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