Message from the Founder
This has been the toughest year of my life. I never thought I would be a brand new mom and a widow all in the course of a month. It just doesn't seem conceivable given who my husband was; a competitive runner, a triathlete and an all around amazing guy. Why him? Dave was my rock, my best friend and the most incredible and invincible person I knew. We were supposed to live to be ninety, retire on a beach somewhere, take up golf lessons and wear Birkenstock sandals all day. That was what was supposed to happen.
photo credit – Tiffany Brown Cooper
Unfortunately in June of 2004 life took a new direction. The unspeakable happened. We got the news that Dave's melanoma had come back. This was not the news we had hoped for. I was four months pregnant and already the hormones were flying off the charts.
I learnt a lot about myself and Dave over the course of the next 5 months. We were each others rocks, and we tackled this disease head on, like we did anything else. I look back frequently over the last 6 months. I am so incredibly grateful to have met a man like Dave and to have had over twelve years with him. I could not have asked for better.
On September 3, 2004 Ashlyn Karen Smart was born with both parents by her side. I don't think I'd ever seen Dave happier then at that moment. He was so excited about becoming a father. We talked about how we would raise her and take her on trips, what type of education she should have and, of course, whether she would be a runner or pianist.
Dave's desire to be a father showed because one week before he passed away he took our daughter for a walk in her stroller. You couldn't get the grin off his face as he slowly and carefully maneuvered the stroller through the neighborhood. It was a moment that will be etched in my memory forever.
On Sept 26,2004 Dave passed away with Ashlyn and I by his side.
Dave was an extraordinary individual who left a lasting impression on everyone that met him. He tackled this disease like he did anything else he set his mind to; with a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and with an incredible amount of strength. He was an inspiration to all throughout his battle.
My wish is to tell Dave's story, educate and bring awareness, and raise money for Melanoma Research. I've been lucky enough to have an incredible network of family and friends helping me with this task and I am so grateful. I want Dave to be proud of me and want to demonstrate to him that I can take away something positive from all of this, which is what he would have wanted.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website. I hope that you will also be able to take something positive away, and most importantly, help in the fight to find a cure for Melanoma.
Live Life, and Live Smart