In 2005, Glenna Kohl was a healthy, active 22-year-old before she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
The diagnosis was shocking to Kohl and her family — only one-half of the people with stage 3 melanoma survive for 10 years. Despite Kohl’s healthy lifestyle, she started spending time at tanning salons from the age of 16 and worked as a lifeguard for five summers in a row while growing up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "As health-conscious as Glenna was, she didn't connect tanning with skin cancer,” Glenna’s mother, Colleen Kohl, told Cosmopolitan.
In May 2006, after surgeries and chemotherapy to treat her melanoma, Kohl was diagnosed with stage 4 skin cancer. After a prolonged battle marked by both progress and setbacks, Kohl died at her family’s Massachusetts home December 2008. She was 26 at the time.
Since their daughter's death, Kohl’s parents have been advocating for greater awareness of the risks associated with tanning and created the Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope. Thanks to the charity’s effort, in 2014 Massachusetts passed a bill that banned people under the age of 16 from using indoor tanning. Those who are 16 or 17 can use tanning beds, but only with the express consent of a parent. Kohl advocated for the bill before she died.
Images Courtesy Coleen Kohl Via Daily Mail