Formerly known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

A ‘ridiculous’ skin cancer campaign for gardeners

melanoma fund skin cancer charity

Celebrity gardeners are getting behind a national campaign, using humour to help fight melanoma. David Domoney, Adam Frost and David Stevens will all appear dressed up looking ‘ridiculous’ in a campaign urging us all to think twice about our sun protection habits.

Watch Your Back! – launched in 2016 by the Melanoma Fund – specifically targets men over 50 who are the least likely to cover up, but are most likely to die from the effects of excessive sun exposure. The message is; ‘don’t be ridiculous, remember sun protection when out in the garden this summer’.

Men and melanoma

Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK and melanoma is the most dangerous type. It is the fastest growing cancer in men and the second fastest in women, with men 70% more likely to develop the disease, typically on their backs and in areas that are hard to spot, making the warning signs easier to miss, leading to a later diagnosis, leading to higher death rates.

Why raise awareness?

Melanoma rates in the UK have more than quadrupled over the last 30 years, however many of us still forget to protect, check skin for signs of change or know what to look out for. This may explain why death rates from melanoma are higher in the UK than in Australia or New Zealand, both of which have the highest incidence in the world.

Harry Townsend, founder of the Melanoma Fund says; “Sun protection campaigns can sound like broken records. We all know the facts, but many of us still lack a regular skin care habit and men in particular dislike applying sunscreen, so we have decided to give it to them straight; don’t be ridiculous!

Skin health clinic bus tour

The Melanoma Fund is organising a bus tour of major garden centres in the South East during May and June. Surgeons from the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and dermatologists from RTWSkin in Tunbridge Wells will offer FREE pre-booked appointments for skin checking and skin health analysis.

The ridiculous sunflower growing competition

Major garden centres will be urging customers to grow the tallest or biggest sunflower in the UK. They will be retailing packs of the ‘ridiculous’ seeds for a £1 donation to the charity. Prizes include Landmann BBQ’s and a year’s supply of Altruist sunscreen.

Campaign ambassadors; Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock, Andy Sturgeon, Charlie Dimmock, Joe Swift, Adam Frost, David Domoney, Anne Swithinbank and Toby Buckland have all agreed to provide their personal tips on growing giant blooms.

Alan Titchmarsh says; “This approach may appear light-hearted, but the message is serious. Sunburn can not only triple the risk of melanoma, it looks terrible, so look after your skin, whatever your age.”

Watch Your Back! is partnered with the Garden Centre Association, the Professional Gardeners Guild and The National Allotment Society. For further details visit www.watchyourback.co.uk from the 1st May.

ENDS

Editors notes:
1. Campaign logo in Hi Res on request
2. Campaign launches on-line and in stores from May 1st 2018.
3. For media enquiries, contact Michelle Baker at michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk or call on 07989551046
4. Quotes and interviews with all gardening ambassadors and organisations are available on request.
5. For a full list of participating garden centres visit www.watchyourback.co.uk

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