Formerly known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

This year has been an exciting and busy one for the Melanoma Fund.  We shook up our internal structure, changing our working name from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund to make our name easier to say! We increased the size of our Trustee board and armed ourselves with an updated logo, branding and website.  Thankfully, we have retained our Chair, the unstoppable Harry Townsend, without whom this charity would not exist.  Read more about Harry here.

Support patients

We were invited to attend a wide number of patient and cancer focused panels and seminars, and again supported and attended the Melanoma Patient Conference, representing and cementing our place as one of the top melanoma charities in the UK. We retained our place on the Melanoma Taskforce and have reached out to other melanoma charities to increase our strength through unity.

Create national and community awareness

We successfully rolled out our Watch Your Back! sun protection for gardeners campaign for a third year, reaching an even wider audience, ensuring our messages are making a difference. We worked with 10 celebrity gardeners who promoted the message ‘Don’t be Ridiculous! – wear sunscreen’ featuring in 125 major garden centres.

We ran a national sunflower growing competition, generated funding for a Skin Health Clinic bus which visited six garden centres across Kent and Sussex, seeing over 1,500 people, promoting the importance of sun protection and early detection of melanoma, and referring 35% to their GPs.  Our summary video can be viewed here

Media support

We dramatically grew our on-line support, received TV coverage of our work on the BBC – see here, and appeared on hundreds of supporters blogs and online media sites. We were recognised as having one of the top 5 melanoma blogs in the UK and a top rating YouTube channel, and have consistently kept this work up, despite being dependent on small budgets and one paid member of staff.

Local support

Jeff, Aanna and Neil, the amazing club captains!

To top this off, we were approached by Jeff Morris at Chartham Park Golf Club to be their Club Charity 2018/19. At the time we never envisaged how this would lead to such amazing, conscience support. From raffles, auctions, club days, spinathons and a dragon boat racing team, the club is working relentlessly to raise as much as possible. To honour this work, we are pledging to put this donation to very good use which we know that clubs members will have full empathy with.

Create change!

The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code was created by the Melanoma Fund in 2014. It was, and remains, the only sun protection campaign, designed to support all those who work outdoors with children. The aim is to get those in charge to ‘Blow the Whistle on Sunburn’.

Partnered with the Youth Sports Trust, Association for Physical Education (AfPE), Child Protection in Sports Unit and sports coach UK, it is supported by over 120 national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) and a wide variety of overarching outdoor and coaching organisations.

This is not specifically a school sun protection campaign; this area is addressed and adequately supported by a number of schemes. The initiative is designed for children who spend a prolonged period of time in organised outdoor activity between March and October. This will be at holiday camps, club training, Outdoor camps, half term courses and those organised outdoor activities during the long school summer holidays that are growing in popularity due to working parents.

Due to resource issues, regrettably the campaign was not actively promoted or supported during 2017/2018 however, with the help of funds raised by Chartham Park, the aim is now to refresh the overall strategy and re-launch the campaign in Mid-March 2019, just before the spring holiday break.

The funds raised will help the charity pay for the resources to develop the new strategy, build a new website, create printed materials, communicate with the key supporters who have put their name to the campaign in past years and also to create new support and research new opportunities via a professional sports panel.

We believe that sun protection habits need to be created whilst young. We also believe that coaches and outdoor activity leaders are the ideal people to inspire children to do this.  They also need to ensure that sun protection is not just on the safeguarding table, but included in their activity (sunscreen doesn’t work in kit bags).

Just one sunburn can triple the chances of developing melanoma and this is more often than not triggered by a sunburn in childhood. We believe that everyone deserves the right to grow up with healthy skin, but this starts with healthy habits and this is where, with the help of this donation we can make a difference.

To find out more view our Outdoor Kids video here.

So, to answer the question, what can a small charity achieve?  We hope you will agree an awful lot, but only with the type of support that organisations like Chartham Park are willing to give. Maybe you have a business that could also do something to create a difference?  Please contact Michelle, the CEO on 07989551046 or michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk, she would be delighted to hear from you!

Finally…

We do hope you can all join us at the Skin Health Event at the club on the 11th August, kindly sponsored by The Rotary Club of East Grinstead.  This would be a great time to come meet us and find out more about what we do and why we do it.  We have the team from Queen Victoria Hospital offering skin checks and also rtwskin offering complexion analysis.  We will be offering bottles of sunscreen for a small donation and lots of advice.

From everyone at the Melanoma Fund…a heartfelt thank you. Visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk for further details.

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We are proud to continue our annual sponsorship of the Melanoma Patient Conference, which took place on the 22nd/ 23rd June at the Norton Park Hotel in Winchester. The conference is organised each year by Imogen Cheese – herself a melanoma patient, providing information for everyone affected, on the current systems of care, treatment access and support for melanoma.

The conference aims to provide those touched by the disease with the opportunity to learn more about procedures, treatment options or clinical trial availability and also the new developments and findings in this sector.

It is widely recognised that many newly diagnosed patients in the UK are still not getting the advice they need relating to treatment with on-going issues with diagnosis and discrepancies in standards of care. There are patients who do not get access to drug treatments either because of their stage of diagnosis or funding issues and as a result feel alone, isolated and uncertain. This  is something the conference looks to address.

Supporting the community

We took a stand at the event to showcase our work, specifically our Watch Your Back! campaign to delegates. We sat alongside the teams from Melanoma UK and Melanoma Focus, creating a solid display of how each charity is working hard and smart to work in synergy to deliver their own powerful messages, creating impact on all areas of the community. 

Michelle Baker, Gill Nuttall and Diane Cannon, proving ‘unity is strength’

This was a great opportunity for delegates and charities to catch up, understand concepts, sign up, connect and discuss how their support and charities working together to benefit everyone, from prevention to family support.

The programme – day one

A wide range of medical professionals were invited to take to the stand to discuss these and lots of other issues to help answer questions and improve understanding, all united in the quest for better outcomes.

After an introduction by Imogen Cheese, Dr James Larkin and Dr Paul Nathan kicked off the conference discussing terminology & jargon associated with melanoma and news of the latest trial and trial standards.

Talk around the key topic of trials continued into the afternoon focusing on partnerships, philosophy of trails (decision making) and a very interesting speech by Dr Pippa Corrie on sequencing and treatment breaks.
The conference aimed to be interactive, with lots of panel discussions, a quiz and audience questions creating understanding and acknowledgment for all areas of the melanoma community.

The Melanoma Fund is focused on prevention, protection and early detection, with this being the main objective of our two major campaigns, Watch Your Back! and The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code. So interestingly the day concluded with a speech by Prof Julia Newton-Bishop who talked about the inherited risk of melanoma, looking in particular at the redhead gene.

Dr Newton Bishop with melanoma patent delegate, Mel Jones

Due to the interest in this, Prof Newton-Bishop, summarised her words in a post on the delegates Facebook forum.

“I presented evidence that sunburn causes melanoma so the imperative is to avoid sunburn, even just ‘going pink’. That if you or your family have red hair or skin which burns easily, then I see no way of exposing your skin to the sun without a risk of burning and I would say cover up, and wear potent sunblock: particularly those made for children with high SPF and 5 stars UVA protection.

Take modest vitamin D supplements as suggested by the SACN (400IU per day). This dose of vitamin D would need to be adjusted if you started to eat lots of fortified foods eg fortified cereals or fortified yoghurts.

That if the general public or family members who have darker skin, they don’t ever burn, and they don’t have lots of moles, then sun exposure is probably good for them provided that they don’t burn.

That if you have skin which is somewhere in between: skin that has burnt but only on holiday, then there is an argument in favour of slow moderate sun exposure so long as you don’t burn. I said that you have to know your skin is what you need to do.

That sunbathing is associated with melanoma is probably because people expose skin which is not in any way used to the sun, to sudden intense sun exposure which cause profound inflammation which is sunburn. This sunburn damages the DNA in the skin and suppresses immunity and this double whammy is what the evidence suggests might be the problem.The same damage can be done on a bank holiday trip of course and for that reason “vests” which leave shoulders vulnerable so not seem a good idea to me.

I did not say but maybe should have, that occupational sun exposure undoubtedly causes non-melanoma skin cancer even if there is no evidence that it does cause melanoma.I also said that I hoped to be in my garden this weekend wearing a hat and sunscreen on my nose. I did this and had sunscreen on my arms but was outside a long time. I expect that over the summer I will develop a ‘subtle’ tanning of my forearms and lower legs and this I would say is what is likely to be “healthy”.

It is crystal clear here that the message from Prof Newton-Bishop is avoid sunburn.  This is still the most crucial advice and words we mirror in all our campaign work.

After a lively dinner, Imogen presented a Melanoma Awareness video as a gift from us, the supporters of this event, to attendees. This can be found HERE .  A fantastic video that creates a greater understanding of melanoma, designed to be shared by us all.

Day two

Living with melanoma and other forms of cancer presents problems that those unaffected know nothing about. From anxiety, to understanding palliative care, from making big decisions on what treatment or trials to face, to fertility and starting a family after melanoma and treatment. These issues, plus dealing with recurrence and facing uncertainty of what comes next was excellently covered by speakers including Dr Rubeta Matin, Brad Groves Deputy Operational Lead NHS England, Peta Hughes CNS and Rebecca Healey.

The conference concluded with a working group session to discuss the various projects and initiatives taking place in the UK to help raise awareness of melanoma with charities providing  a round up on their current work.

Says Harry Townsend, Founder and Chair of the Melanoma Fund; “Congratulations to Imogen for having organised once again this wonderful annual conference, bringing together people and organisations in raising awareness of melanoma, as well as receiving updates on progress in finding a cure for this terrible disease, from experts in the field.”

We are looking forward to reviewing and sharing the Melanoma Patient Conference 2018 highlights and sharing these with you on this platform.

Michelle Baker – CEO – Melanoma Fund

Having worked for big, blue chip organisations for over 30 years, I cannot tell you how proud I am to now work for a small melanoma charity that creates BIG impact, making a real difference to people’s health and lives. Never before have I held such passion for my work, felt so fulfilled or have I been more proud of the things I have helped this charity achieve.

Small but mighty!

The Melanoma Fund is a small national charity that raises awareness of melanoma, with just one paid member of staff, a hard-working Founder (Mr Harry Townsend) a team of amazing Trustees and a small handful of volunteers.  In #smallcharityweek it’s vital that we all recognise the amazing work of charities like the Melanoma Fund, which shows the real impact small organisations can have, without the massive overheads that bigger charities are liable for.

Vital work

In the last five years we have created two national campaigns; the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code and Watch Your Back!, both raising awareness of the importance of sun protection to high risk groups. We have joined the Melanoma Taskforce; a parliamentary lobbying committee, provided support to various patient groups, funded effective melanoma research, worked with local authorities to raise awareness and teamed up with other charities to organise skin checks across the South East to help our mission of PROTECT, DETECT, PREVENT. And much more.

Success needs support

The more we reach out, the more we achieve… the more opportunities we find present themselves to us, as does the demand for the charity’s resources and in turn our financial demands. Unfortunately, being such a (very) small charity, we don’t have the marketing might to reach out for funding in the same way that big charities do, yet a relatively small increase in funds would make such a big difference.

Add up the hand-full of  small melanoma dedicated charities in the UK (who are all doing incredible work in their own fields) and together we are together creating MASSIVE impact on this terrible disease, but without funding, we cannot survive.

In spite our size, Melanoma Fund has carved out a niche in its work in the UK and leads the way in terms of our campaigns which target people who are at high risk of developing skin cancer. This includes working with bigger organisations to get our messages across and seeking wider support, but this all takes resources.

The Melanoma Fund, and the countless other small charities in the UK who do great work, are always looking for support, whether as a volunteer, regular donor or for people to go out and challenge themselves in our name.

Get in touch

If you have been touched by melanoma and want to help us make a difference and support a charity that tells it as it is, why not find out more about what we do?  Visit at www.melanoma-fund.co.uk or email me at michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk.

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We have just received the following report from The Royal Marsden thanking the Melanoma Fund for £25k funding for a melanoma project undertaken by Professor Harrington.  We would like to share this with you and  thank the people who have run, stood with cans, walked, talked and sold for us, as without this support, this donation and result would not have be possible.

Professor Harrington and his research team aim to improve the outcomes for patients by developing more effective and kinder therapies that can be used to create treatment plans that are personalised for each patient. The results from his pioneering research studies and clinical trials will continue to give cancer patients world-wide greater treatment options and improved care.

Professor Kevin Harrington in ICR lab

On behalf of everyone at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, thank you for your generous support of this essential research. We are delighted to provide an update on the potentially life changing project you helped to make possible.

An urgent, unmet need
Since the early 1990s, the number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK has more than doubled. The incidence rate is slowing; however, the number of new cases is still projected to rise by a further seven per cent by 2035. The most aggressive and life-threatening form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma, which has a consistently poor prognosis.
There is an urgent need to develop new treatment combinations for this disease in order to save more lives and give hope to patients who have nowhere else to turn.

Leading the way in personalised treatment
A patient’s treatment plan is usually determined by their cancer type, location and size, amongst other traits. However, the standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatments prescribed do not work for everyone because each person’s cancer has a different genetic makeup. This means that certain treatments will kill off some cancer cells but leave others, resulting in the remaining cancer cells continuing to grow and spread.

Therefore, the focus of cancer research has shifted from the tumours origin in the body to the biological makeup of cancer. This work is supported by developments in molecular pathology that allow researchers to identify biological molecules in tumours and analyse multiple genetic abnormalities in cancer cells simultaneously.

By studying a tumours unique biological characteristics (biomarkers), researchers can understand more much more about what causes the cancer to grow and spread. This insight is used to create personalised treatment plans by screening a patient’s tumour for biomarkers and then matching the results with a combination of therapies that will be most effective for them. The information gained also helps scientists to design targeted anti-cancer drugs, resulting in new treatments that are more successful with fewer side effects.

Importantly, some biomarkers can be found in many different tumour types. This allows breakthroughs in one cancer type to be translated quickly and easily into benefits for more patients. For example, The Royal Marsden has pioneered new treatments that target the BRCA mutation, which is a cause of melanoma, as well as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
Using viruses to revolutionise cancer treatment

Oncolytic virotherapy is a rapidly advancing field which is developing a new kind of treatment that uses viruses designed to target and kill cancer cells. A virus takes advantage of cells to multiply; thus the modified virus seeks out and spreads to all the cancer cells.
Furthermore, while the immune system is a powerful defence against threats to the body, cancer can hide by taking advantage of the inherent ‘brakes’ that stop this system from attacking healthy cells. The virus naturally stimulates the body’s immune system to recognise the cancer cells as a threat that needs to be eradicated. Importantly, early trials show that virotherapy does not cause significant side effects, adding to evidence that it should be safe to use with patients in the clinic.

Many new virotherapy drugs are being tested for use against a wide variety of cancer types. For example, RT3D is a virus that naturally occurs in the respiratory and digestive systems of most people without causing harm. When used as virotherapy, the drug activates anti-tumour immune responses for patients with melanoma, lung, prostate, head and neck cancers. However, overall there is only a modest improvement in survivorship when RT3D is compared with standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Professor Kevin Harrington and his team are investigating if a targeted drug could increase the effectiveness of RT3D and, when combined with standard therapy, could establish a radically more successful treatment for melanoma patients. The team first screened a panel of remarkable size and complexity which evaluated the biomarkers of melanoma against a combination of RT3D with 84 different kinds of targeted drugs. The results suggested RT3D would be most effective if combined with a PARP inhibitor, a targeted cancer drug that stops cancer cells from repairing themselves therefore leading to death. This novel combination that would not have been found without conducting such an exhaustive and thorough analysis.

The team saw promising results when the treatment combination was administered in basic models without an immune system. They are now hoping to see further success when the drug combination is introduced to models where an immune system is present. The team is aiming to publish their results this year and we look forward to sharing this with Melanoma Fund in due course.

The information gained from our pioneering study will be used to set up a Phase 1 clinical trial with melanoma patients. Our team aims to establish this innovative drug combination as a more effective way to slow tumour growth with little to no harmful side effects, thus enhancing survivorship and quality of life for patients. Ultimately, we hope to be able to expand the benefits of this treatment to help patients with a variety of cancer types that share the same biomarkers.

Next steps to continue driving forward progress
Immunotherapy drugs work by stimulating the body’s immune system so it can identify and attack cancer cells. We are at the forefront of research trialling immunotherapies and have already seen promising results for patients with melanoma as well as kidney, bladder, head and neck cancer.

Looking to the future, Professor Harrington is developing a study to build on the success of his virotherapy and targeted drug combination by adding an immunotherapy drug. This revolutionary treatment combination should not only shrink the tumour, but arm the immune system to recognise and attack the cancer cells if they regrow, thus preventing the cancer from returning and becoming life-threatening.

Thank you
As a specialist cancer hospital with an international reputation for innovative research, we have a responsibility to continue driving forward advances in treatment to give the ever-growing number of melanoma patients a greater chance of being cured. We are making incredible progress and changing countless lives, but none of this is possible without donations from those who, like you, are passionate about making a difference and investing in a better future.

The gift from the Melanoma Fund funded our initial work to gather the proof we needed to unlock investment from pharmaceutical companies to continue our research. Thanks to you, we are working towards taking our learnings from the laboratory to translate the results into tangible benefits for patients.

On behalf of Professor Harrington and his team, and everyone at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, please accept our gratitude for your support of this potentially life-changing research.

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The Melanoma fund is a charity based in East Grinstead. We carry out a number of awareness-raising and educational campaigns as well as continuously raising funds and we now looking for a part time bookkeeper who can help us keep a better track on our finances.   

We are looking for someone to maintain our financial records, including expenditures, income received, receipts and payments. Your responsibilities are to accurately record all day-to-day financial transactions of our charity.

Responsibilities

  • Record day to day financial transactions and complete the posting process
  • Verify that transactions are recorded in the correct ledgers (as directed by our accountants)
  • Enter data, maintain records and prepare reports and financial statements in time for our quarterly Trustee meetings
  • Reconcile the monthly bank statements
  • Liaise with the charity’s accountants at Year End
  • Prepare and maintain a rolling cash flow  and income/expenditure forecast
  • Maintain all financial information (paperwork) in an orderly and professional way
  • Ensure that the charity meets all its regulatory and legal requirements and is fully compliant at all times

Requirements

  • Proven bookkeeping experience
  • Solid understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting payable/receivable principles
  • Proven ability to calculate, post and manage accounting figures and financial records
  • Data entry skills along with a knack for numbers
  • Hands-on experience with spread sheets and proprietary software
  • Proficiency in English and in MS Office
  • Customer service orientation and negotiation skills
  • High degree of accuracy and attention to detail

Place of work

Home-based, although you will occasionally have to travel and work from private addresses associated with the charity in East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells.

Hours

This is a part-time role only comprising one day per calendar month (8 hours).

Rate of pay

£10/hour.

Reporting

You will directly report to the charity’s CEO and Chairman of the Trustees.

Other Information

You will be required to use your own lap top and be responsible for your own tax affairs.

If you are interested in this role, please contact Michelle Baker on e: michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk with your CV and a covering letter.

 

 

 

We are delighted to announce that our loyal supporters Swim 4 Tri are running their annual Lou Parker Open Water Charity Race Day again on the 15th September.

This event is run in memory of open water swimmer and friend of the club, Lou Parker who died of melanoma in 2010.  The 4k course, set in Stubbers, Upminster, Essex is available to swim as an individual or as a relay. This is a relaxed event so swimmers can complete as much or as little as they want.

The event is always very popular, with SFT members and non-members, providing a scrumptious and well deserved BBQ breakfast after the final swimmer has finished the course, ensuring the race is not just fun but also memorable.

The event is designed to get as many people in the water as possible and also a timely reminder that sun protection is a vital part of all swimmers kit when the weather warms up.

The event is run by Keeley Bullock and her brother Dan who are dedicated to helping raise money for their chosen charity, the Melanoma Fund, helping raise awareness of sun protection and skin checking to all those who enjoy a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

Keeley Bullock – Organiser

Says Harry Townsend, founder of the Melanoma Fund; “Keeley and Dan are amazing people who consistently support us, showing not only loyalty to the charity but to their good friend who died tragically from this awful disease.  We hope this event will not only encourage people get people fit, but raise awareness of melanoma and the importance of sun protectio at the same time.”

The club aims to raise funds for the charity via sale of tickets and BBQ takings.  For full details on how to enter etc. click HERE

For further information on the Melanoma Fund and the work they do please contact www.melanoma-fund.co.uk.

 

 

 

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