For a lot of people, staying tan is a part of staying looking good. In order to maintain that tan, especially in the winter, some people choose to use tanning beds. It is now extremely common to drive by tanning salons since it is such a service that is used by so many people.
For Jude Thrasher, she was one of these regular customers until it changed her life completely as she lost an entire part of her face.
Jude had been using tanning beds since she was 13 years old, and continued using them three times a week for eleven years.
She would do twenty-minute sessions when she went to the salons instead of using the one her parents has at home. This in itself was definitely excessive for her, but by the time of her wedding, she had upped it to going to six to seven times a week, still doing her twenty-minute sessions.
At this point, Jude, aged 26, knew that her skin was taking damage as it was slowly wrinkling. Even more striking was the strange sore on her nose that she was developing. Then just one month later it came close to healing but burst again.
“The sore had burst open overnight,” said Judy Thrasher, “I just thought I must have scratched myself in my sleep.”
It was at this moment that Judy pieced together the puzzle. “After a few months when it failed to heal, being a nurse, I realized what was going on,” she said. “I just knew. I went to my local doctor and said, ‘I have cancer on my face.”
It was true, she had developed skin cancer on her nose, and had to have the skin removed and replaced by a skin graft. She now has a scar on her nose and a six-inch long one on her chest where her skin was taken to patch up her nose. She now always applies sunblock, wears an umbrella in the sun, and has full body check ups every three months.
“When you’re a teenager you think you’re invincible,” she said. “But I covered my face while using the tanning bed and still got cancer.”
Judy now serves as an inspiration to some: “I have had tons of girls saying I have saved their skin, after they’ve seen my picture and been putt off sunbeds.”