After serving as president for the Green Bay Packers for 19 years and in additional roles for 37 overall, Bob Harlan stepped down for good Jan. 28, 2008. Finally, carefree days were ahead, to be filled with whatever projects and hobbies he wanted.

As a 10-year survivor of melanoma, however, baking in the sun all day on the golf course was not an option.

It is a sacrifice Harlan has made, giving up a longtime hobby.

Harlan grew up in Iowa spending his childhood summers in the sun, either as a caddy or out all day on his grandparents' farm.

"I was glad to be tan," he said. "In those days we didn't know about sunscreen. We never talked about the dangers of the sun. And it came back and got me."

After marks appeared on his forehead in the late 1990s, Harlan saw a dermatologist. Dark marks on the right side of his neck became a concern. He discovered he had melanoma in 2003 at the age of 66. He was lucky — if you can call it that — in that he had Stage 1, so the cancer did not spread to the lymph nodes.

"But I know what it's like to have a doctor look you in the eyes and say you have cancer," said Harlan.

He actually had melanoma in two places, the neck and the shoulder. That meant right after the Packers played at Chicago, Harlan received his biopsy results the following Monday. By Wednesday he was in surgery for 31/2 hours.

"The doctor said he dug very deep to make sure they would get it all," said Harlan. "I was very fortunate.

"When I was laying on that table I didn't think, why me — but my gosh, did my life change in a heartbeat. And I will never forget the doctor saying, 'I hear that 10 times a day.' It is a shock."

That experience is partly why, in retirement, Harlan has immersed himself in projects that help the community. The Madeline and Robert Harlan Humanitarian Fund helps cover the expenses like babysitters, lodging, food and gas for cancer patients who aren't covered by insurance.

"This humanitarian fund is so important. People have enough on their minds. And they're scared to death already," said Harlan. "They don't need to have other concerns. If we can just relieve some of those concerns, that's what we want to do."