On a hot and sunny morning, the team from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund set off to Bexhill-on-sea to attend Be Active 2017, a community event run by Active Rother. The charity was in attendance to promote its Watch Your Back! campaign, supported this year by over 180 garden centres and endorsed by 7 of the best known gardeners in the UK.
The charity organised a free skin check, located in The Studio of the De La Warr Pavilion, providing the opportunity for people to present a worrying mole or lesion to a melanoma expert. This attendance would not have been possible without the help the Bexhill Lions; a group of ‘extra-ordinary people’ who help out in the community, making it a better place. Not only did members help facilitate and promote the charity’s presence at Be Active 2017, but also worked with the charity set up, assist, fund raise and break down after the event.
News of the skin check spread around East Sussex rapidly, in fact there was hardly a need to distribute promotional leaflets as pre-booked appointments were at full capacity within a week of announcing the event on-line, with a waiting list growing each day.
Once again, the charity joined forces with consultant, Mr Siva Kumar and his team of four surgeons from the MASCU (Melanoma & Skin Cancer Unit) at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. The team donated their time to the charity from 10.30am until 2.00pm seeing over 120 people and referring a record 39 to their GP’s for further treatment, proving how vital this work is.
Thankfully most left with peace of mind and to those who revealed that they never used sun protection, a clear message that their habits would need to change!
In addition to the skin check, the charity joined the Lions on their stand in the De La Warr Lawns to help raise further awareness and fund raise. Both organisations worked together, proffering advice on sun protection, keeping an eye out for sunburn and offering full sized bottles of Ladival SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreen to the crowd in return for a small donation to the charity, helping raise a grand total on the day of £1,060.00.
Harry Townsend, founder of the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund said, “Thanks to The Lions and The Queen Victoria Hospital, this event was a great success all round, from spreading our key messages to seeing so many people attend our skin check, hopefully saving a few lives. I am confident we have created a big impact in Bexhill-on-Sea and the amazing donation total will help us continue our vital work in other communities.”
Mr Siva Kumar, who is also the medical ambassador for the charity said, “The high referral rate seen today signifies the need for us all be vigilant when it comes to our skin. We are still seeing people who do not use sun protection and feel that sunburn is the natural precursor to tanning. My advice is if you want to tan, fake it! It only take one severe burn to not only quadruple the risk of melanoma, but also rapidly age your skin.”
The message is clear. Stay sun protected in this very hot weather using a hat and long sleeves. When choosing sunscreen, choose a broad spectrum brand, never dip below SPF30 and reapply often, watching out for those hard to reach places. Finally, if you notice a mole or blemish that is changing, book an appointment with the GP ASAP”. For further information visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk