Mark The SPOT! Cut-A-Thon

Sunday, May 31, six hair salons participated in the first Cut-A-Thon for Mark Samitt’s Mark The SPOT! Campaign to detect melanoma. Samitt, who passed away recently, began Mark The SPOT! last year to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation in order to help detect melanoma in its earliest stages. His older daughter, Rachel, a senior at PHHS, noticed a mole on his head when his hair was wet. It was this discovery that changed his life and inspired him support melanoma research and to help other people who may be going through the same thing. Already, Mark the SPOT! is notifying the public about the melanoma’s dangers, raising awareness, and helping hair stylists to recognize potentially dangerous moles on their clients’ heads.


Mark Samitt’s daughters, senior Rachel and sophomore Danielle, are supporting the campaign in their father’s memory. They were gracious enough to answer some of our questions:


Olivia Buzomi: What inspired your father to start this specific organization?

Danielle Samitt: My dad had a mole on the top of his head that my sister, Rachel, found when his hair was wet [which is why he thought of stylists, since they are in a unique position to see people’s heads when they are wet]. He went up to his hair stylist and asked if she ever tells people when there’s a mole on someone’s head. When she told him she would be too embarrassed to, he decided he had to change that. He was a man of action and didn’t want anyone else to have to go through what he went through and decided he had to set up an awareness campaign to prevent it.


OB: How many years has Mark The SPOT! been up and running?

DS: Mark The SPOT! was started last year.


OB: How do you hope to let your father’s legacy live through this organization?

DS: He hoped that no one else would have to go through what he had to go through. He knew that if melanoma is caught early it is curable, so he started the Mark the SPOT! Awareness Campaign. We have been told that due to the Mark the SPOT! Campaign, numerous people have been informed about moles found on their heads from the hairstylists, some have even been early stages of melanoma. I hope that his legacy of Mark the SPOT! can save lives.



OB: What were your hopes/predictions for this year’s Cut-A-Thon?

DS: With this year’s Cut-A-Thon, we hoped for an awareness of melanoma and the seriousness of it. We wanted to spread the word about Mark the SPOT!, and we wanted to raise money for Melanoma Research Foundation to use toward his awareness campaign and research for the disease.


OB: How many Cut-A-Thons have taken place?

DS: This is the first Cut-a-Thon to take place for Mark the SPOT!, but we hope to have many more in the future and that more and more salons get on board, and we hope to take this nationwide. We hope to inform about the dangers of melanoma, spread the word and impact of Mark the SPOT! and raise money for melanoma research.


Rachel Samitt in particular, has stepped forward to help run the campaign. She said:


“My dad was clearly the brains behind this entire endeavor, so in the beginning stages he really took it and ran with it. However, starting last summer is when I really started getting involved. I went with him to every salon presentation that I was able to attend and really tried to take in every piece of information he was giving. He was a great presenter and public speaker, and I wanted to learn as much as I could so that one day I could present to salons, as well. Up until the very end, my dad and I were working hand in hand on this project, and I’m not going to lie, when he passed I was scared. Everything I had posted/presented/promoted had been run past him first. I didn’t know if I could do it myself. However, I found it in me to continue on with this, as so much of him is within me. I try to think like my dad did and make it as much [in] his vision as he planned it to be. [The Cut-A-Thon] was amazing, and I truly think it was everything he wanted. The positivity at each salon would’ve brought tears to his eyes and I could not be happier with how it turned out.”


I went to Robin’s on Broadway in Hillsdale for a blowout to support the Cut-A-Thon. The amount of excitement and positivity that surrounded the entire event was really inspiring and special. When I spoke to my hairdresser, Denise, she told me that Mark really tried to be a part of the campaign before he died. He personally came into the salon and showed the hairdressers pictures of what melanoma looked like. While they were not formally trained, they were taught how to look for and detect moles that seem irregular.


The event seemed wildly successful, and I’m sure the outpouring support from the community was really extraordinary to the Samitts.