Amelia joins the Melanoma Fund

08 June 2021  |  Amelia Aves

I’ve recently started working as a marketing assistant at the Melanoma Fund, supporting Michelle Baker, the charity’s CEO. With my interest in medicine, I couldn’t have wished for a better placement!

I would like to inspire others who are looking for summer work to approach their local charity, helping with a great cause, whilst generating some valuable experience.  Here is my story…

I am currently in year 11 at Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School (TWGGS), having finished my GCSE exams in May. Like many of my friends, I had been looking for a summer placement and some work experience preferably in the medical field; a career I am keen to pursue in the future. I have always been interested in paediatrics, but have become interested in oncology after recently attending webinars on World Cancer Day and other virtual work experience placements.

I find the research that is going into innovative cancer treatments fascinating and would love to be a part of this in the future.

First steps

I heard from a post on Facebook that the Melanoma Fund was looking for some summer admin support with their prevention campaigns, and thought this sounded like the perfect opportunity to do some beneficial and relevant work for a local charity. I already knew about the Melanoma Fund after listening to a BBC radio show that Michelle Baker, the CEO, was a guest on, where she discussed the dangers of sunburn, and how important it is, in particular, to protect children from the sun.

After speaking to Michelle and then looking into the campaigns on the website, it looked like the ideal role for me, and after being offered a position, was excited to start my first official work placement, which commenced on the 24th May.

First day

My first task was to learn about the charity and its objectives, looking at each campaign, how it is constructed, and how it delivers.  I was then asked to call garden centres and nurseries to talk to them about the ‘Watch Your Back! campaign (of which they were existing supporters) to discuss the charity’s new Sun Protection Accreditation scheme.

Despite having researched the campaign and having been given a brief, I admit I was nervous before making the calls, however after some key advice from Michelle, after the first few contacts, I felt much more at ease and confident in what I was doing.

Useful tips

After working with Michelle as my mentor, I picked up some useful tips on my ‘phone voice’ and how important it is to smile and feel engaged when speaking even if the recipient can’t see you, as they can tell you’re happy and interested from the tone of your voice, which helps make them far more receptive to what you are saying.

Later that week, I was introduced to the charity’s brand new database, held on the Arkflux site. I found this fascinating as I’ve been on the receiving end of many of these CRM systems, but had no idea how it actually worked from the sender’s point of view! It was so fascinating to see how easy and efficient CRM systems make it for charities and organisations to communicate with stakeholders and customers, and I have enjoyed carrying on working with this database, discovering how it works, and helping to update the hundreds of contacts for each of the three campaigns various lists.

The OK Kids!

My next task was to work on the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code campaign, again calling stakeholders to talk about the new Sun Protection Accreditation scheme and – now that I have learnt how – updating the Arkflux system with new contacts and numbers that I generated through these calls. I definitely felt much more confident on the phone, and found that I didn’t need to rely on a script or notes as much, as I had hands-on experience from my Watch Your Back! calls.

I also started work on the Big Giveaway, contacting local children’s sports clubs and holiday clubs to offer them free Sun-Sorted! sun protection kits, something that they were very excited and grateful to hear about. I found this perhaps the most rewarding of the tasks I have done so far, as I have been online finding names of different clubs and groups and then calling them myself to offer this to them, and their reactions were so positive and inspiring!

Over the last couple of days, I have started preparing the information that is sent out to companies and groups who sign up to become Sun Protection Accredited within each of the charity’s three campaigns, ensuring that they all receive a leaflet and window sticker to put on display, advertising their commitment to sun protection. I hope to see some of these when I’m out and about!

Next steps

Next week I will start to network with golf clubs, promoting the charity’s Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, something I am keen to explore more about. It is great that the charity has such diverse sectors, all however chosen for the fact that they talk to people who are at heightened risk of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Knowledge is king!

Since starting my work with the Melanoma Fund, I have noticed that, although I have always been careful with my skin in the sun (being fair and red-haired means I burn very easily!), I have definitely been applying sunscreen more regularly and ensuring I do this even if I don’t intend to be outside for very long. I was shocked to read the statistic that ‘one blistering sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma’ and, from speaking to my friends, many of them were too.

I think a lot of people, particularly in my age group, don’t really consider the full consequences of skin cancer and think of sun protection as prevention from ‘getting a tan’, and sunburn as being a ‘temporary problem’, which it absolutely isn’t.  This is something the Melanoma Fund is doing a great job raising awareness about, by getting young people engaged and educated around the subject via their Sun-Sorted! quiz, before they start thinking about tanning as a teen.

I am pleased to have gained so much insightful knowledge on the dangers of UV exposure and to be able to share this with my friends and family. I have really enjoyed my first couple of weeks working at the Melanoma Fund and am looking forward to continuing to expand my knowledge through this work throughout the summer.

Thank you for reading my blog post.  I hope that this inspires you to do something similar.

For further information on the Melanoma Fund, please visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk 



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