MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Steve Graham is preparing to fight as hard as he can. He does his very best to keep his attitude positive. He’s cut out sugars and carbs and alcohol from his diet and made exercise a priority. He knows what lies ahead is tough.
"The prognosis for stage four melanoma just is not good," Steve says, "but, there’s always hope."
Graham is 39 years old and a single father to a young son, Harrison, who turns 3 in September. That is what hit him the hardest.
"When I get lost in my thoughts, that’s where it goes," he said. "I think about what if when he’s in 2nd grade, is he going to have friends, is he not going to have friends, and who’s going to teach him to throw a football? Stuff like that. That hurts to think about."
Graham first noticed a suspicious mole on his back in September of 2020. Removed and biopsied, it was confirmed to be melanoma. Doctors then removed more skin and sentinel nodes, which all appeared to be clear of any sign the melanoma had spread.
Then, this spring, Steve noticed a lump on his back. The melanoma had indeed spread. And this time, it was also found in several other places, including his liver.
On June 10, Steve received his first of four planned doses of immunotherapy. Insurance will cover some of cost, but not all. He knows the bills will mount, but he can’t think about that right now. He wants to survive as long as possible… for Harrison.
"That’s another thing that I struggle with is how will he process that? When he is able to understand why his dad’s sick or why his dad isn’t around? That’s the hardest thing."
Steve’s friends have begun a GoFundMe campaign to help with both the expected medical costs and to help secure Harrison’s future. Steve knows that he has an expensive fight. And he wants Harrison taken care of.
"Yeah, the life that I went to college to provide him with and to make sure he’s got school supplies and clothes on his back," he said.
Steve’s story is also a strong reminder, during these sun-soaked summer days, to keep a close eye on your skin. Melanoma can come on without notice and spread quickly. Sunscreen is important, as is keeping watch out for any moles changing appearance.
"We all just think we’re invincible until we’re not."