We had the good fortune of connecting with Dee Conway and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dee, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
My passion for bringing awareness to Valley Fever and Skin Cancer. I want people to remember how I turned a really hard year into strength to advocate for these causes.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
During 2018, my husband had a near death experience with Valley Fever and my younger sister passed away from melanoma. I learned a lot through their experiences and needed to do more about both causes. I’ve learned that Valley Fever is commonly misdiagnosed, delaying treatment. I’ve learned that skin cancer is the most preventable cancer and many are losing their lives at a young age from it all over the world.
Their stories are important for many to learn from. The biggest lesson I want others to learn, is to be your best advocate of your own health. If you live or have visited the endemic area of Valley Fever, know the symptoms and ask your doctor for a Valley Fever test. In Arizona, we see the sun almost every day of the year. Protecting your skin will have life long benefits. Sun protection is easy, when wearing UPF apparel and wide brim hats. Sunscreen should be a daily habit and reapplied throughout the day, no matter the weather. Annual skin checks by a Dermatologist are life saving.
Through my advocacy work, it has helped me work towards managing my mental health. I’ve participated in Advocay Days with Melanoma Research Foundation, where I was the only Arizona representative in 2021. During Advocacy Days, I had the opportunity to share my sister’s melanoma story with the staffers of Congresswoman Lesko, Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema. This opportunity also gave me the chance to request additional funding for melanoma research and to gain the support to ban tanning beds for minors. I felt so empowered and that I was using my voice in a positive way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This would be for a fun day trip.
First we would go for a desert hike at Jewel of the Creek Preserve.
Then drive up to the Verde Valley. We would have lunch in Jerome at any of the local eateries. Enjoy walking around seeing the mining history.
Next go to Clarkdale to ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad. The beautiful train ride taking you through nature.
Next stop would be at Tuzigoot National Monument. Explore the incredible ruins of the Sinagua people.
Then go to Cornville for a wine and dinner in the gorgeous environment of this area.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to first dedicate my shoutout to my 35 year old sister Rose, who passed away in 2018 from melanoma. She was a brilliant Microbiologist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Next recognize the efforts of Melanoma Research Foundation and
Valley Fever Center for Excellence.
Also special recognition to two of my favorite UPF apparel small businesses Desert Camo Apparel and L.U.V. Low Ultraviolet.