A Patient’s Story: Rosa

The moles on Rosa’s face, three under her left eye, had been there since she was a small child. They’d been there for so long that she barely paid attention to them. But last January, one started to darken and itch, and no over-the-counter cream provided relief. Instead of going away, the mole was growing and she became increasingly concerned.

Rosa, a mother of three who cleans houses for a living, turned to the Boehringer Ingelheim AmeriCares Free Clinic in Danbury for help. After examining her, the team at the clinic immediately referred her to Dr. Marcus McFerren of Advanced DermCare in Danbury for a biopsy. Soon, Rosa received the news.

“They told me it was a malignant melanoma,” she said. “At that point, I was very scared for myself because it had only been a short time since my mother passed away from thyroid cancer and two months since my brother from colon cancer.”

Dr. McFerren, however, was confident he could successfully perform surgery to remove the mole. But he knew that a large area of tissue would need to be extracted, and since it was in such a prominent position on her face, he felt that plastic surgeon would be needed. Dina Valenti, Danbury clinic director, enlisted the help of a local plastic surgeon, Dr. Gregory Brucato, who agreed to perform the procedure for free.

“This was huge for me because it was a donation,” said Rosa. “If it weren’t for them, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Thanks to Valenti’s diligence and Drs. Brucato and McFerren’s skills, Rosa is cancer-free today and her scars are nearly invisible.

“Every time I go [to the clinic], I feel warmth in my heart,” said Rosa. “I’m very thankful.” 

See a video of Rosa telling her story:

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