May 6, 2011

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with Melanoma. The incidence of the disease is increasing faster than that of any other cancer, currently it’s the leading cancer in women between the ages of 24-29 years.

We feel honoured to be working with the Save Your Skin Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit group doing important work to build melanoma awareness. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support for those dealing with skin cancer, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer.

Save Your Skin’s Founder, Kathleen Barnard, and her son, Executive Director David Barnard, are incredibly inspiring to work with. The family’s story is one of strength, determination, and love. Kathy Barnard, who’s currently battling melanoma, shares her personal story to further awareness of skin cancer.

KATHY BARNARD’S STORY –
Written by Kathy Barnard

“It’s not the amount of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”, – Kathy Barnard

Writing this piece has been without a doubt one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

That Day, April 10th 2003, my Doctor told me I had this horrible disease, it was exactly like the Cancer commercial. I could see her lips moving but there was no sound. The room was getting smaller and I remember thinking “who is she talking to?”. I left her office thanking her, yet asking no questions, and then sat in my vehicle remembering only three words. METASTIZIED, MALIGNANT, MELANOMA.

How could this be, I had a small lump on my left elbow for over a year, and had it checked multiple times being told it was only fatty tissue. Could the recent diagnosis just be a mistake?

I will never forget that day, as it was, and will always be, a life changing experience for myself and my family. From the moment I was told, I knew knowledge would be power, so I wanted to know everything I could about the disease and the treatment. But I never wanted any statistics or time period. Every cancer is different and every patient is different.

That Day, I took all my feelings of anger, fear, disappointment, and denial, and filed them somewhere in a vault in the back of my head. I vowed they would stay there FOREVER. I had a battle to fight now for the rest of my life and needed all my energy and strength for that. Like most cancer patients I will leave the doors to that vault locked as there is always the possibility that this battle will need to be fought again.

When people ask me how I stayed so strong and positive, I explain it like this:

The past few years have been like a roller coaster ride. I am the lead car and can see all the ups and downs, twists and turns on the track, so I can get prepared. But, the cars following (my family) don’t have it as easy. They are hanging on to me, (the lead car), with everything they have, unaware of the ups and downs twists and turns, determined not to let me fall off the tracks. For them, I will stay strong and will try to protect them as much as I can, as we ride it out together.

See original story posting at saveyourskin.ca.

Save Your Skin will host two events this June to raise funds to support critical and timely treatments, ongoing education, skin cancer research, and awareness initiatives. We’ve included information on these events below and should you be interested you can register for the events online. Just click the images below for further details. We’re also thrilled to announce that the beautiful and talented GINA HOLDEN (SAW 3D, Final Destination 3) will be at the event! And there’s a growing list of incredible silent auction items (including designer handbags, spa getaways, hockey items, and more!)

Plus, be the first to purchase a table for the breakfast and WIN a pair of tickets to see the SAM ROBERTS BAND in concert at the Malkin Bowl on May 28th!

If you wish to make a donation to the Save Your Skin Foundation, you can do so here: Donate to Save Your Skin

Join Save Your Skin on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find information at saveyourskin.ca. The Foundation is also launching their new website this month.

Melanoma , Save Your Skin Foundation , Skin Cancer # , , , ,
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