SPOKANE, Wash. - As we pass the one-year mark since a beloved Gonzaga baseball star turned coach died after being diagnosed with Melanoma, his many loved ones are continuing to share a message that was important so to him. Schedule your annual physical. Get your skin checked. It could save your life.

"I don't know if Danny would have gone to the doctor every year if we would have had a different outcome, but I believe many lives can be saved by just going to the doctor," Danny Evans' widow Kellie said.

May is skin cancer and melanoma awareness month. The American Cancer Society says, 'skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer.' That's why talking about it, and sharing stories can be so critical. Stories like the Danny Evans'.

There are some wins in life that truly knock it out of the park. A kind of catch that sets you up for everything that is good. For Danny Evans, that's always been Kellie. He recalled the first time he saw her in an interview with KHQ in 2021.

'She was walking across the quad and I was like, I'm going to marry that girl someday," Danny said in 2021.

A promise the Gonzaga baseball shortstop star turned associated head coach made good on in 2007. Team Evans later grew by two. A little girl followed by a son. All the while, Danny was helping lead the Zags to some historic wins. 

"I felt invincible," he said in 2021.

Until, his 40-year-old body told him, he wasn't. His body was riddled with stage four melanoma.

"(I had cancer) basically from my calf into my brain. 

"It was crushing, crushing news," he said.

Months after that 2021 interview with Danny and Kellie, and after an incredible fight, Danny lost his battle.

"It's been almost a year exactly," Kellie said of her husband's passing. "We're hanging in there. We always maintained hope. One morning he just had a stroke and that was it."

Hundreds of friends, family, and loved ones packed the bleachers of the Patterson Baseball Complex for Danny's Celebration of Life. Kellie and the couple's two children spoke at the service.

'There is no life without you in it so we continue to believe you walk beside us as we move forward, heads held high. We love you."

A love Kellie makes sure engulfs their children.

"We talk about him like he's still here," she said. "It helps us keep his memory alive."

And that memory, who Danny Evans was to the core, was to serve his community.

"We agreed to do the interview because we wanted to help others," Kellie said. 

Both then, back in 2021 as they gave us a glimpse into their fear and worry, and now, into their loss and heartbreak to simply try to save you from the same. 

"You can tell people until you're blue in the face, go to a doctor. Go. Look at us. Just go to the doctor," she said. 

Prioritizing a consistent annual check-up, or a visit to the dermatologist. Taking some time to just maybe give you more. 

"It's so important," Kellie said.

And that's why she's here, sharing her grief, and her Danny with you.

"We feel Daddy with us," she said.

And that's all the motivation they need to carry on in a way that would make him proud.

"Life is busy, we forget to cherish moments," she said. "But man, it can change quickly."

On May 25th on KHQ Nonstop Local, we are bringing you special coverage, 'Do it for Danny.' The special report in Danny's memory will feature multiple health experts, other stories of families impacted by skin cancer, and what doctors want people of all ages to know and do. 

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