By Katie McFadden

Hundreds of people took to the boardwalk on Saturday, May 18 in support of Casey Gallagher as she battles Ocular Melanoma, a rare eye cancer.

May marks Ocular Melanoma Awareness Month and Saturday marked a day of visibility in Rockaway as most participants wore event t-shirts in honor of the cause, as they walked alongside Casey. The morning kicked off with the National Anthem before the hundreds of participants started the 5K at Beach 86th Street. Following the walk, everyone met up at Jamesons on Beach 129th Street for a post-walk party.

After the walk, Casey Gallagher took to Instagram to thank everyone for their support. “I’m usually not at a loss for words, but I am truly speechless. If you want to know why I’ll never move out of my hometown, this is why. The support from my family, friends, and even people I don’t know has been incredible. Everyone came together to bring awareness to this stupid disease and to support me through my journey.

“A huge shoutout to my mom and sister who pulled the bulk of this day together. You are the most amazing women I know! With you two by my side, I’m bound to stay strong.

“And to everyone who showed up, walked on their own, bought 50/50 tickets, or FaceTimed, texted, or called, I APPRECIATE YOU! I appreciate you all, and there will never be enough words to express how thankful I am.”

She also thanked the Rockaway Graybeards, the TK Foundation and others for their support to members of the community going through a difficult time.

Ocular melanoma is a rare type of eye cancer that occurs when the melanocytes in the eye become cancerous. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives color to your eyes, skin and hair. The most notable sign is a dark spot on the iris that grows over time.

Although rare, ocular melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer in adults. It occurs in five out of every one million adults under 50 each year. In adults over 50, the incidence increases to more than 20 cases per million each year. Everyone is encouraged to get their eyes checked regularly.


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