We held Melanoma Awareness Day for the first time on July 23rd 2005: blanket cover of the national, regional and local media with our new posters, logo and slogan The Darker Side of the Sun brought very good cover from as far afield as Derby, Bolton, Glasgow and Northampton and lots of new supporters.
It was so encouraging that the next year (2006) we organised Melanoma Awareness Week June 3rd to 11th, which covers two entire weekends: it was advertised in Foresight, the essential publication for all editors, that advertises all coming events nationally.
2007 and 2008 were the same: in 2009 it was even more successful
We are gaining increasing numbers of supporters: and many of them (you) held fundraising events during Melanoma Awareness Week, contacted their local press, and distributed Darker Side of the Sun leaflets which we will supply (just contact Harry Townsend, 6 Manor Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1LR 01342 322508 email@example.com if you want a ‘starter pack’ of leaflets, wrist bands, packets of sweet pea seed Myfanwy Townsend, or packets of our special sunflower seeds under our watchword The Darker Side of the Sun!)
Well, back in 2006 Marian Bisson in Bexhill held a Garden Party and Bring and Buy and raised £256.00: lots of supporters collected outside Sainsbury’s in East Grinstead and raised more than £300: Mr and Mrs Walsh took a stall at a Boot Sale in Crawley and raised more than £50: and so it went on....
Melanoma Awareness Week took place in 2007 from June 16th to 24th: we planned early, contacted more than 250 media outlets (local, regional and national) and even got four regional radio interviews and some newspaper exposure: all very encouraging, but with personal local input we'd have got far more! The big plus was the support from Haskins Garden Centre in East Grinstead, with wonderful support from manager Nici Dell and her staff. Our increasingly large team including Gordon Hyde, Jo Coxhead, Theresa Oakley, Marian Bisson and Peggy Hyde raised more than £1,300.00 over the two weekends!
Support and exposure is rising year by year: and we aimed for national cover in 2008 when Melanoma Awareness Week took place from June 14th to 21st: and yes, we were at Haskins again for both weekends!
2009 was even more successful from June 13th to 21st with lots of local radio broadcasts and once again £1,000 outside Haskins. It coincided with the appointment of a specialist skin cancer nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead in their rapidly expanding MASCU (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit), which we had funded initially: also the launch of the first ever, anywhere Mobile Mole Awareness Unit (the Mole Patrol!) in Cornwall, staffed by two super young ladies, which visits the beaches, shopping centres, festivals and schools raising awareness. Head Gardener John Hobden also designed and built a great Memorial Garden at Queen Victoria Hospital at the end of that week
We’re constantly planning, and with my background in horticulture (Assistant Curator of Kew Gardens) and sport, we hope that the horticultural and sporting press will give space to publicise a disease with no guaranteed cure which affects so many people who take part in outdoor hobbies and pursuits.
They’re interested in your story, and your reasons for wanting to find a cure for this terrible disease of malignant melanoma.
We’re all in this together.
We send out a regular Round Robin newsletter to supporters: if you would like your name added to the distribution list, just let me know.
But please mark down June 16th to 24th 2012: our seventh Melanoma Awareness Week! If you can organise any event locally, whether it's a Coffee Morning, a sponsored walk, a cream tea for the neighbours, a sponsored litter pick.... please do so: and tell the local media what you're doing, and why!
This year, we're publicising our next project, Sun Hat Day, initially aimed at Primary Schools to encourage children to Stay Safe in the Sun but getting the message over in a non-threatening way. We hope that they'll hold Sun Hat Days at school (prizes for the Best Decorated Sun Hat?) and Bluebells Cafe in East Grinstead (www.bluebellscafe.co.uk ) have provided a great recipe for Sun Hat Cup Cakes, which we hope children will bake and perhaps take along to their school fetes, and all the time getting the message over, Stay Safe in the Sun. You can download the recipe from the Fundraising section of our website. And PLEASE, tell people what we are doing, and WHY!
Melanoma is one of the Diseases of the 21st Century, affecting 1 in 1500 in the 1930s: now it affects 1 in 50, and rising! Yet so few people are aware of the disease, and the necessity for early diagnosis.
Please put that right: tell people about melanoma and what we (YOU!) are doing whenever you get the chance
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