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A Fathers Battle With Melanoma In Florida

 A Fathers Battle With Melanoma In Florida

May is skin cancer awareness month, and today I have the honor of sharing a true story with you about a great man named Dick Hurley. It’s the story of a dad’s fight with Melanoma skin cancer told through the eyes of a loving daughter. 

Dick Hurley's Melanoma Story

Enjoying the South Florida sun during the 1970s, my dad took full advantage of his summers off to read his newspapers and books in a beach chair under a beach umbrella while looking out over the aqua blue Atlantic Ocean perfectly flat in the calm summer months.

 Born and raised in the Boston area of Massachusetts, my dad, Dick Hurley, was a second generation Irish American, the son of Arthur and Genevieve who made good on the promise their immigrant families had hoped for generations to come.

 As a result of their success, my grandparents chose to send my dad to a college prep school, a move that very few descendants of Irish immigrants made  during the 1940s in New England. My dad went on to graduate from Harvard College in 1954 when he leveraged his relationships with a different class of people who did things like spend winters in Palm Beach.

 Before commercial flights were popular and before interstates ran down the east coast of the United States, my dad joined one of his college friends on a road trip from Massachusetts to Florida. Upon their arrival to the resort Town of Palm Beach, his friend introduced him to a world where men dressed in tuxedos and women in ball gowns to drink and dance in the evenings after spending their days by a pool or on the beach in swim trunks or bikinis.

 My dad was hooked. Despite spending his childhood summers on Cape Cod and enjoying warm days on bay beaches, he couldn’t resist a world that combined the warm ocean water, sandy beaches, nightly cocktail parties, and plenty of sunshine. Continually replenished by the Gulf Stream, the ocean delivered as much warmth as the sun, making sitting on the beach all day comfortable and enjoyable.

More than a decade later, my dad married my mom, Sheila Gallagher, and brought her to Palm Beach for their honeymoon, foreshadowing their future life by the beach. After having two daughters, they permanently moved to Palm Beach where the whole family spent nearly every day at the beach in some capacity.

Dick worked nights and spent his days reading by a pool or on the beach under the sun. And despite wearing sunscreen, he still overwhelmed his Irish skin that wasn’t meant for this much time in the sun at a latitude much closer to the equator than that of his ancestors.  

After worshiping the sun for decades, Dick sought treatment from a dermatologist who began removing various forms of skin cancer from his body on a regular basis. At the same time, his cardiologist was treating him for congestive heart failure.

Because the urgency of his heart condition overshadowed his skin cancer, melanoma was able to take hold of the side of his head. The dermatologist aggressively treated the melanoma, cutting a deep and long slice of Dick’s face along his hairline above his left ear.

With a sigh of relief, Dick moved on from the melanoma scare and returned his focus to his chronic heart condition. Still treating various forms of skin cancer, my dad relaxed in the comfort of continual healthcare.

“It will eventually kill me,” he said of congestive heart failure, but ultimately it was the melanoma that found its way into the rest of his body, metastasizing in both his brain and his lungs.

After experiencing stroke-like symptoms, Dick saw on a head scan that tumors were growing on the back of his brain. And although the doctors didn’t say, “you’ll be dead in a few months,” we knew that this was it.

He made one more attempt at physical therapy after going through rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, but the doctors said he was no longer a candidate for recovery. Their diagnosis for my dad transitioned to hospice where he died only a few days later at the age of 78 with his family by his side after he lived a full life. 

As the daughter of a melanoma patient, I ask that you please visit your dermatologist often. If you see something out of the ordinary on your skin, make a special appointment.

We were distracted by my dad’s competing health priorities and didn’t catch his melanoma before it was too late. If we could go back in time, we would have done a lot of things differently. While my dad used sunscreen, it still wasn’t enough to protect his sensitive skin.

If he were alive today, I would ask him to wear a long-sleeved shirt with a UPF seal. In addition to his sitting under a beach umbrella and his wearing a wide-brimmed hat, I would have asked him to take a break from the sun during the peak hours. And a pair of those space-aged sunglasses that nearly wrap around a person’s head would have protected the spot where the melanoma had originated.

The beach was a massive part of my father’s life. I wouldn’t want to take that away from him. But there are a variety of ways to protect your skin while still enjoying your lifestyle.

I’ll say to you what my dad always said to people both as a greeting and as a farewell, “God love ya!” And protect you! 

Love, Meghan Hurley 

A big thank you from SunLux to Meghan for allowing us to share her dad’s story with our readers. We hope her encouragement to get a skin check sooner than later is the message someone needed to hear today. 

If you have a skin cancer story and would like to share it with us to possibly be featured on our blog, please email us at: We would love to get your story out there and keep skin cancer awareness and prevention on people’s minds as they go out into the sun. 

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 #melanoma #melanomainflorida #melanomaawareness


SunLux Skincare,

Robin Wayman

Founder/Cosmetic Formulator

All Rights Reserved © 2020-2024 SunLux Skincare 

*Disclaimer: I am a trained Cosmetic Skincare Formulator and this article is intended for informational & educational purposes only, and we feel it meets our SunLux Skincare standards. We never claim to heal or cure any skin conditions. If you need additional help we always recommend our customers & readers go see their local Dermatologist.

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