Family continues to 'Make the Best of It' in fight against cancer in honor of beloved daughter, sister

A New Jersey fundraiser to fight melanoma is in its fifth year.

Kristen Johanson
June 27, 2018 - 9:43 pm
The Miller family, from left: George, Kristi, Tara, Lauren, Debbie

Courtesy of Lauren Miller

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SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — A Jersey Shore family is turning devastation into hope for others.

Tara Miller was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma, after finding a small bump behind her ear.

"It progressed within a couple of months to stage 4," said her twin sister, Lauren, "once it had spread to her brain and her lungs."

More than a year later, Tara died. Lauren said she fought until the bitter end.

Lauren recalled Tara went from having about 10 tumors discovered after one treatment session to five times that amount at the next scan.

"About 10 days later, they stopped counting at 50," she said. "[But] she would never be told, 'That's not possible,' or 'There are no options.' "

Tara wanted others with her diagnosis to have a chance, so she organized the "Make the Best of It" Bash to raise money for melanoma research and treatments.

The bash is named after a phrase Tara often said. 

Lauren explains: "No matter what happened, whether she was getting bad news, she was told she needed full brain surgery, but she [said], 'Well, make the best of it.'"

The family made it an annual event, and they have continued it after Tara's death in her honor. Every dollar goes to research.

"Our family funds all of the event- and foundation-related costs to make sure that people know that all of this money goes to game-changing research for melanoma," Lauren said.

The bash, now in its fifth year, takes place this weekend.  For information on tickets, visit taramillerfoundation.org.