LOS ANGELES – For Anna and Brian Hogan, it was a whirlwind romance, a love that she never expected to find.

It all started with a set-up from his mom. Anna agreed to meet him while he was playing pool. But Anna remembers one more thing about that night…

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“He did have a good size scar on his neck and I know he was self conscious about that,” Anna said.

Brian had a mole removed years before they met – it was stage zero melanoma and he’d been cancer-free for five years.

Anna knew Brian didn’t want to talk about his skin cancer – it was taken care of. That was his past and his future was her…

So two and a half years after they met, he proposed and then came the honeymoon. They decided they wanted to spend time to themselves before starting a family. They wanted two children.

While on a trip in Paris, Brian complained of neck pain. He was tired a lot of the time and promised to see a doctor when they returned.

On a Tuesday came the diagnoses – Stage 4 Melanoma. On a Thursday came plans for treatment, but eight weeks later, Brian died.

Skin cancer had attacked his body, brain, liver, lungs.

Anna has set up a foundation in Brian’s name for melanoma research as part of his legacy. The other part – their family.

Yes, cancer stripped away their life but there was one thing it couldn’t take. In those fateful days before treatment began, Anna and Brian had done one thing.

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Brian, Anna says, made a deposit to a sperm bank just in case.

It would turn out to be much more than that… ten months after Brian died, Anna began the process of starting the family they’d always wanted using that deposit which was supposed to be just a precaution.

Brianna Emilee Hogan was born four months before what would have been her father’s 41st birthday.

It’s support she feels everyday as she holds her baby, Bree, a child born out of love but not without a story.

But when Brianna is old enough to understand, she’ll learn about the disease that took her father, but more importantly, she’ll know how loved she was.

To make a donation for Melanoma research in Brian Hogan’s name, visit the Angeles Clinic Foundation Web site.

The numbers can be startling… one in five Americans will get skin cancer, but a new survey finds that one in five don’t wear sunscreen on a daily basis even though 94 percent of Americans know that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin damage.

For information about skin cancer, click on the links below:

The Skin Cancer Foundation

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Melanoma Monday