AS IF IT’S MARCH ALREADY? This year is going SO fast! 2018 has been a blast so far despite having a tricky start.
Potentially having skin cancer is possibly the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced. It was a really scary time for me. When you’re waiting for your results after having a mole biopsy and removal you re-evaluate and over think a lot of situations in your head, past and present as though your life has passed you by within a blink of an eye. You learn about yourself, you learn how to cope and you learn a lot about the people around you.
One day I went to get my mole checked out at the doctors, the next I was being referred to a dermatology unit and then I was sent to a hospital. When you’re faced with an illness, all you want to do is learn about it and how to cure it, and that’s what I did. I took to Google to self-diagnose myself as having Melanoma.
I came across an article about a local woman who’d battled with Melanoma over a period of years and it, unfortunately, took her life. I was so inspired by her as a person and her journey to do something, to write about it on here to spread awareness.
Throughout her battle, she was heavily supported by a Sunderland, organisation MelanomaMe. I did talk a little bit about the organisation, soon to be a charity in my first post but over the last few months, I’ve gotten to know the angels who make up the MelanomaMe team.
I’m calling them angels because that’s what they are, and I’m sure the people who know them and have been supported by them will agree with me on this one.
I needed support in January. My Mam, my boyfriend, and all my friends were all massively there for me when I was going through what I went through but Kerry, the Managing Director of the organisation gave me masses of support and to think before this we were strangers!
Kerry, herself understood what I was going through very well, only too well as she’d been through it all before. Kerry’s an extremely strong woman who’s been through not just a mole removal and biopsy, but skin cancer. She’s currently winning her battle with cancer and because of what she has gone through, she’s helping people in the same position which I think is amazing.
After months of chatting and her kind words, she invited me to the MelanomaMe offices in Sunderland to meet her and the team to take part in their SPF 5* Awards.
The Skin-cancer Prevention in Families (SPF) 5* Awards is a 2-hour course, delivered by MelanomaMe for individuals in the beauty industry for example hairdressers to learn about Melanoma and what to look for.
I think the course is really valuable to beauticians because when you think about it, they see us up close and personal every 4-6 weeks on average for beauty treatments like a haircut, or even a spray tan and they’re more likely to notice changes on our body than us.
The course itself is face to face training, real case studies and images, group discussions and ‘food for thought’ dilemmas.
Alongside this, the team offer aftercare and support to every attendee, with an added bonus of being able to signpost clients affected by skin cancer to MelanomaMe for free counselling or support. On completion of the course, you receive your CPD accredited SPF 5* Award and gain client confidence.
Although I’m not specifically in the beauty industry career-wise, I was still really keen to do the course to be knowledgeable about the awards and Melanoma which was fine for the team as they actually visit workplaces, schools and colleges to give out their knowledge on what to look for.
I went along on a Saturday morning and finally met Kerry, plus Elaine the Managing Director Counsellor. Immediately I felt like I’d known both of them for years, they both have such a warming aura!
They’ve just recently got a new office space which is lovely and very homely. I felt instantly at ease which is a must for their patients who come here for support. We sat down with a cuppa and the course began.
I’m not sure what I expected to gain from the course or learn as I thought I’d already wised up on Melanoma, however, my socks were totally knocked off.
I think I spent the whole 2 hours with my mouth wide open in shock. It baffles me that skin cancer is the fifth, yes you read that right, THE FIFTH biggest cancer that kills in the UK and yet there still isn’t that significant awareness being made.
We’re bombarded with messages on social media, on the television, in newspapers about breast cancer, prostate cancer, and the list goes on but rarely about Melanoma?
What I’ve taken away from the course is a few things but mainly about prevention, identification and that skin cancer never goes away. It’s not like other cancers where you can just zap it away, it’s always there.
I really enjoyed the course and I learnt so much in such a short space of time. As soon as I got home I was examining my Mam! Kerry and Elaine are exceptional teachers, they kept my attention at all times and their methods to explain things were so understandable. I really would recommend this course to everyone, it’s need to know information in order to protect ourselves and the people around us.
At the end of the course, I received my certificate and a bottle of Tancream, which is a gradual daily self-tan. Tancream carefully blends sunscreen and sunless tanning agents to create an innovative luxury face and body lotion offering SPF 50, a superior self-tan, a tint of natural bronzer and moisturising properties – all in one bottle! The idea around the tan was created by Gillian Robson who suffered from skincare herself. What makes it so special is the fact that a fake tan with an SPF50 had not been achieved before now, was due to the incompatibility of the pH’s that the active ingredients need to work. After two years of intensive research, Tancream was born! I’ve been using it for the past few weeks and it’s amazing!
I can’t thank MelanomaMe enough for their support, understanding and care they’ve provided me with. Like I said, the team are angels! This course NEEDS to be ruled out everywhere and to everyone.
Here in Sunderland, we’re very lucky to have such a fantastic organisation helping the community they way these lot do, I’d go as far as to say they are a vital organisation to our city and the UK has they help everyone not just locals!
I will always support this wonderful organisation, please check them out here.