By Timna Understein – There are times when a series of events creates an unexpected trajectory and such. It’s in these moments that the reality of the WE being stronger than the ME, is so apparent. And sometimes, the WE is formed via social media, and involves colossal companies, and surprising results.

Recently, I experienced one of these serendipitous WE moments involving my organization, Respect the Rays, which promotes melanoma awareness. Here’s how it went…

FIRST, a Respect the Rays follower contacts me with this and a picture (see above) of what she found:

Timna_noteI was shocked by what I saw… a bag of Color Goldfish with the words, “Nothing beats playing outside in the sunshine and getting a little color.”

THIS is not a sun-safe message being delivered to children, but rather the opposite! As a melanoma warrior, I frown upon huge corporations putting massive amounts of money into marketing campaigns that send wrong, and downright BAD, messages about sun safety (or lack there of, really).

SECOND, I turn her picture into an image modified… one that states “wrong message” and “bad marketing”, and Tweet it to Pepperidge Farm (owned by Campbell Soup Company). I also post this image and to the Respect the Rays Facebook page, causing a stir amongst the melanoma community:


THIRD, Pepperidge Farm responds to my Tweet, basically saying they will formally respond the following day. Some followers thought this was an auto-reply. I was not sure. And so we all waited:


FOURTH, the next day comes and so does this:


AND BEHOLD, a response arrives:


So there you have it – a follower reaching out, an organization speaking out, a community speaking up, and a mammoth company hearing OUR voice. THAT is how change takes place!

Timna Understein is a melanoma warrior, who has bravely battled this disease twice since 2008 along with a Primary Acquired Melanosis of her left eye in 2012. She is also the WYSK behind Respect The Rays, a melanoma education and awareness movement that targets young people. Read her inspiring story here.

Timna Understein Melanoma Warrior