Kelowna mom looks to save others from the loss she suffered with Morgan's Mole patrol - InfoNews

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Kelowna mom looks to save others from the loss she suffered with Morgan's Mole patrol

Morgan's mole patrol
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Mole patrol
July 03, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KELOWNA - Four years ago, Morgan Forshner went to his family doctor to check out a mole he had on his back.

It had changed in colour and in size, and his family pushed him to go get it looked at. That day the doctor burned it off, and he went home thinking everything was fine.

In a matter of months, the Kelowna man was back at the doctor’s office and it became clear the mole was much more dangerous than he’d initially understood.

“Melanoma is a very survivable cancer if it’s caught early,” Karen Wells, Morgan’s mom, said.

“His was Stage 4 by the time it went back. It had metastasized and moved into his adrenal glands, his spine and there was a spot on his lungs. Then it went to his brain. It was very aggressive.”

His wife was pregnant when he was diagnosed.

“They tried for 10 years to have a baby, and she’d had two miscarriages, and he was born June 2016. I remember it perfectly,” said Wells. “That day, Morgan was getting a CAT scan while (his wife) was in labour.”

Morgan lived for six more months. In just over a year from that first appointment, Morgan had died. He was 33 years old and left behind a family who misses him dearly.

“The baby, Lincoln, will never remember Morgan,” Karen said. “Tyler, Lincoln's older brother is 11, and he will remember, but what makes me sad is that it all could have been prevented. None of this had to happen.”

Wells feels guilty about her son and wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else and in Morgan’s memory, she started the Mole Patrol — a cheerful sounding name for a group with a deadly serious message. Be careful in the sun, because it can kill.

On Canada Day they set up a tent and handed out sunscreen to anyone who walked by. She was surprised by how many people hadn’t worn sunscreen on that bright sunshine-filled day.

“I grabbed one fellow, he was there with his mom and his grandma, who were both putting sunscreen on, and he said ‘I don’t need it,’” said Wells.

“I said, ‘you get it over here.’”  Then she told him the story of her son and he changed his tune.

“People think they’re invincible and it’s very sad,” she said.

Wells thinks sun worshiping  culture is particularly hard to deal with in the Okanagan,  where the sun is so powerful that “fruits literally ripen.”

She hopes, however, she can make a pale and powerful impact on their decisions in Morgan’s name.

She and the Mole Patrol are intending to bring three sunscreen stations to Kelowna.

One will be at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, another will be at the Yacht Club and a third may be at a location that’s yet to be decided. Anyone who sees them can load up with some sunscreen and make their day a little safer.

“Really, though, sunscreen should be the last step,” Wells said.

You should limit your time in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a hat with a wide brim, use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide.

And if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for Morgan, who would have done things differently if he only knew.

“I know he’d be happy we’re doing this,” said Wells. “If we can just save one family to not go through what he’s gone through and they could see their children to grow up, he would want that.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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