mom posts graphic selfie to raise awareness

An Alabama mother posted a gruesome selfie of her blistered face to raise awareness about skin cancer, and people have taken heed.

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Tawny Willoughby, 27, showed her blotchy face to her Facebook friends to discourage people from hitting the tanning salon. Her post has gone viral, with nearly 60,000 shares since April 25.

“You only get one skin and you should take care of it,” she wrote. “Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up. That’s my biggest fear now that I have a 2-year-old little boy of my own.”

Willoughby, a registered nurse at a hospital in Florence, Ala., said she laid out in the sun or a tanning bed up to five times a week when she was in high school to maintain her tan.

At age 21, she was diagnosed with skin cancer. She has gone to a dermatologist about twice a year since and usually has to have a cancerous growth removed at each check-up, she said.

Willoughby said she’s lucky she doesn’t have melanoma, which can spread to other parts of the body, but noted that basal cell carcinoma, which she’s had five times, can leave disfiguring scars.

“Melanoma kills, non melanoma disfigures (and can also kill),” Willoughby wrote. “Don’t be a statistic!”

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