Medical Technology

Soon-to-be Medical student receives $10K after Detecting Melanoma

A soon-to-be medical student and former volunteer oncology ward has been awarded an $10,000 scholarship for her studies this week following her tip-off to a Vancouver Canucks staff member about an infected mole on the back of his neck during an National Hockey League game in Seattle in October.

Nadia Popovici, assistant equipment manager for Canucks was seated directly behind the visiting team bench.

“The mole on your neck could be cancerous. Please go see a doctor!” Read the message.

Hamilton took the advice seriously and was diagnosed with stage II malignant melanoma according to a report published in The Seattle Times

As mentioned in a Medscape Q&A, “ABCDE” is the acronym that identifies physical and visible characteristics suggestive of Melanoma. ABCDE is a term used to describe an irregular border, asymmetry, color variations (especially red, white and blue tones in a brown or black lesion), diameter greater than 6 millimeters, as well as an elevated surface. Lesions can itch, bleed, ulcerate or develop satellites.

The Canucks were back in Seattle this week to take on the Seattle Kraken. This week, the visiting team posted an email on social media from Hamilton requesting the identity of the good Samaritan.

“…The message you sent me on my mobile phone will always be in my head and bring a profound change to me and my family,” Hamilton wrote.

Within hours, Popovici’s mom who has season tickets to the Seattle team’s games, responded to the message.

Popovici and Hamilton were seen again at the January 1 game in which Popovici was awarded the $10,000 medical school scholarship in a surprise announcement posted on Twitter and liked by more than 42,000 times.

“She didn’t take me out of a burning vehicle like the big stories, but she did take me out of a slow burning. Hamilton stated that the doctor said, “If I ignored that for four or five years, I wouldn’t be here.” Hamilton spoke at an news conference.

Popovici claims she has been accepted to several medical schools and will start school in the fall, according to a press release from the National Hockey League.

More money for medical school may be in the pipeline for Popovici after the GoFundMe account was launched this week. With the goal of $25,000 the fund had received just under $2500 as of the 4th of January.

“The teams offered her 10k as a nice gesture, but I think we can do better!” writes Josh Doxey, a sales manager from Lehi, Utah, on the page he designed for Popovici.

Doxey said in Medscape Medical News that she created the GoFundMe because it would be an excellent gesture, especially for someone who is heading into healthcare after two traumatic years of COVID ….. I’ve been in contact with her mother and her mother has been chatting. Both seem very kind and grateful. They are also humble.”

Nick Mulcahy is an award-winning senior journalist for Medscape, specializing in oncology. Email [email protected] and on Twitter: @MulcahyNick.

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