St Levan Church supports Melanoma Fund

22 Sep 2020   |   Michelle Baker

The Melanoma Fund is always happy to support and promote the fundraising efforts of those who take the time to act and actively support our work. Having received a cheque for £170 from Michael Searle – a melanoma patient and friend of the charity for a number of years – we asked him to give an account of how and why he raised these valuable funds for us.

In his own words below, over to Michael!

“St Levan Church nestles out of the prevailing wind just a few miles from Land’s End and within a stones thew of the famous Minack Open Air Theatre. Every quarter it supports a different charity, and at the beginning of this year I was asked to nominate a charity, and I chose the Melanoma Fund. I had met their CEO Michelle Baker a couple of times at the annual Melanoma Patient’s Conference – the first time in 2016 – and although Michelle claims to have met my wife on one of these occasions, she did not attend, so whoever she is thinking of… I deny it!

I have always been impressed with the Fund’s emphasis on prevention. I have stage IV melanoma, so I guess I was the obvious choice to speak about the disease, and the Melanoma Fund’s work. I am a retired Anglican priest and help out at St Levan so I was used to speaking in that context.

Michael Searle and Michelle Baker at the Melanoma Patient Conference in 2016

I began by talking about my own journey from diagnosis and being told it was terminal through various experimental treatments, and then to my present stage of over 9 years post immunotherapy treatment. I then talked about the causes of melanoma and the treatments available.

I pointed out, forcefully, that the best treatment is prevention. This is where I began to talk about the excellent work of the Melanoma Fund and in particular their Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, with its target of golfers and greenkeepers, and the Watch your Back! campaign to protect gardeners – a cause particularly close to my own heart.

I have long since given up golf because for me it was a case of ‘slip, slap, slice’, but I am a keen vegetable grower. We also have within the parish the Chelsea Gold Medal winners at Penberth Plants! I am really delighted with our church’s response both in terms of money raised and the mind’s educated and changed.”

Thank you, Michael. All of us here at the Melanoma fund appreciate your endeavours and the generosity of the congregation at St Levan. We know that attendance has been hit hard by COVID during this fundraising time, so to generate this amount for the charity, which will be wisely used in our prevention work, is truly fantastic.