Vote Health First This Coming Election

Vote Health First is an awareness campaign, with a supporting website, created to help Canadians have their voices heard regarding important health care issues surrounding the 2019 federal elections and beyond. Click here to check it out:

Please join the Vote Health First letter writing campaign and let your local candidates know that it’s time for all political parties to prioritize the needs of patients, and announce their support for a comprehensive health care strategy that will help to keep people in Canada healthy.

Canadians are generally proud of our universal health care system, but it is clear more needs to be done.

Canadians continue to struggle to access the healthcare that they need.

Shockingly, some people are forced to sell everything to get proper cancer care in Canada.

It’s time for change.

Click here to view, create, and send your letter from the customizable form

Please feel free to add a few sentences to the customizable letter about your personal experience. Include who you are (e.g., a cancer survivor; a person living with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis or another chronic health condition; a family member of a patient). Share a sentence about your personal experience(e.g., how long have you lived with your condition and is it treatable? Curable?) Add a sentence about why a strong health care system is important to you (e.g., you have trouble affording your treatment; the treatment you need is not covered by your public or private insurance; you are concerned about managing your condition, or your family member’s condition, as you or they get older).

Take Action Now:


iPolitics Through the Patients’ Eyes

Oct 1 Through the Patients' EyesOn October 1, 2019, Save Your Skin Foundation, Myeloma Canada, Canadian Psoriasis Network and CONECTed sponsored and participated in this “clutch conversation” on Canada’s health care policy through the patient’s eyes. This event was hosted by iPolitics. The moderated panel discussion was followed by an audience Q & A. People came in person to the iPolitics offices in Ottawa and joined virtually.

To view the recording of this event and others, please CLICK HERE

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Patient Insights on Canadian Cancer Care: All.Can Canada Report

New Canadian report breaks down patient-reported waste and inefficiency by province

The Canadian All.Can cancer initiative has published a major report of cancer care recommendations based on patient insights following a Canada-wide survey conducted last year that gathered insights from cancer patients and their caregivers. Of the 314 responses received, 255 of these were selected for a provincial analysis comparing results from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

The report, Patient insights on Canadian cancer care: opportunities for improving efficiency, highlights four major areas of cancer care inefficiency from the patient perspective. All.Can defines inefficiency in cancer care as anything that does not focus on what matters to patients.

Click HERE to read the report

“Patients are almost never included in conversations about cancer care. We need to listen to what patients say would improve their experience of care,” said Kathy Barnard, who is a stage IV melanoma survivor, Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation, and a steering committee member of the All.Can international group. “Ignoring the findings of this report would be a missed opportunity to do the right thing by patients and make changes that could make a real difference,” said Barnard.

Although some areas of healthcare in Canada are publicly funded in whole or in part, cancer patients – particularly those in rural areas and/or with limited access to financial resources – often experience high out-of-pocket health costs due to travel, missed work, and uninsured or under-insured drug expenditures. Alternatively, they forgo necessary treatments because they cannot afford them, with dire health consequences.

The cost of cancer care in Canada has risen steadily from $2.9 billion in 2005 to $7.5 billion in 2012. There is an urgent need to improve efficiency and reduce waste in cancer care in Canada. Improving efficiency is not a question of linear cost-cutting, but of finding ways to allocate resources more efficiently to achieve better health outcomes for patients. The report identifies four key areas for improvement based on patient insights. Below are a selection of highlighted findings from the survey report:

  • Ensuring a swift, accurate and appropriately delivered diagnosis
  • Improving information-sharing, support and shared decision-making
  • Making integrated multidisciplinary care a reality for all patients
  • Addressing the financial implications of cancer

All.Can Canada urges policymakers and the entire cancer community to act on these findings – as making these changes could make a real difference to patient outcomes and experiences of care, and the financial impact cancer has on patients, their families, the health system, and society as a whole.

This is supported by existing evidence: faster diagnosis can improve patient survival and is associated with reduced treatment costs for many cancers. Shared decision-making is associated with improved patient outcomes. To download a full copy of the All.Can international survey report, Patient insights on cancer care: opportunities for improving efficiency, visit:


To read more about All.Can Canada and our work with All.Can globally, please click here:

What We’re Working On: All.Can Canada


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Patients Redefining Healthcare Summit

Join Save Your Skin Foundation, Canadian Psoriasis Network, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, and other patient groups for the fourth annual Summit,  A Dose of Reality: Patients Redefining the Future of Health Care in Canada. This year’s Summit builds on the last three Summits which provided an unprecedented opportunity for patients, caregivers and patient representatives from diverse disease and disability groups to come together to discuss a shared vision for health care in Canada.

Register now:

This year’s Summit will update participants on what’s happening in health care across the country to improve value for patients. Summit topics will focus on current Value-Based Health Care initiatives in Canada and on federal health care plans. In addition, the Summit will invite key representatives from each province to share health policy updates and discuss their current and/or potential impact on provincial health care systems and on patients. The event will also strive to renew the mandate of the patient working groups for 2020.

Click here to read about the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Summits

We welcome you to share this invitation broadly with your network.

Thank you from the event hosts,

Save Your Skin Foundation
Canadian Psoriasis Network
Schizophrenia Society of Ontario


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Huge Thank You to all Move for Melanoma supporters!

To all those who participated in Move for Melanoma by raising awareness and funds in their communities, a huge thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you! We are inspired by all of the creative activities that SYSF supporters did in the Move for Melanoma activity challenge throughout the weekend of September 13-16, 2019.

We’d also like to thank all those who supported Move for Melanoma by making a donation, sponsoring an event or spreading the word. Thanks to you, the event was a monumental success! Your dedication to the fight against skin cancer will help Save Your Skin Foundation continue to support Canadians living with non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma and ocular melanoma. Know that you have made a difference!

Thank you to our Sponsors:
Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada  |  Beach City Crossfit  |  HollisWealth  |  Madlab School of Fitness  |  AXED Throwing Club  |  Lululemon  |  Code Sports


Want to know how it went? Watch this video to find out!

Thanks to the many participants who sent us pictures of themselves and their teammates taking part in Move for Melanoma, we were able to create a beautiful recap video of the event. The BMS Cycling Team completed a 600 kilometre ride over the weekend – watch SYSF Founder Kathy Barnard roll across the finish line with them!



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Squamous Cell Carcinoma: What Patients Need to Know


Squamous Cell Carcinoma: What Patients Need to Know

Dr. David Zloty, Dermatologist and Clinical Professor at UBC, reviews the latest news, clinical data and other updates as they relate to the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), a common and sometimes metastatic skin cancer. Dr. Zloty provides an update on skin cancer statistics in Canada, an overview of the disease features, staging and prognostication, surgery and treatment options including immuno-oncology for cSCC, and the impact of all of this to patients.  Additionally, Erin Vidic, a Medical Writer with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), introduces their 2019 Patient Guidelines for Squamous Cell Skin Cancer. This comprehensive resource gives skin cancer patients a reliable checklist to inform decisions in their care, which is much-needed for this common form of cancer, and even more helpful in the metastatic setting.


David Zloty MD FRCP – Clinical Professor, Dept. of Derm and Skin Science, UBC

Erin Vidic MA – Medical Writer, National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®)

Facilitator:  Kathy Barnard, skin cancer survivor and Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation

Listen to a recording of the presentation here, or watch it on our YouTube channel here.

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One Week Until Move for Melanoma!

All across Canada teams of runners, bikers, hikers, and even laser tag enthusiasts are all preparing to MOVE FOR MELANOMA next weekend!

In our weekend-long fund-and-awareness-raising activity challenge Save Your Skin supporters will be all hands on deck to make this event great.

Friday September 13 kicks off Move for Melanoma with a team of cyclists biking 600 kilometres in the Montreal area, wrapping up the ride on Monday September 16 in conjunction with two shorter rides, 85 kms and 55 kms, in which our very own Kathy Barnard will be biking with her husband alongside the BMS team.

On the Saturday and Sunday in cities all over, participants will do their favourite activities in the name of melanoma patient support – in addition to the run and bike routes people have planned, we have crossfit teams, kayaking, city tour walking, and axe-throwing!

Haven’t yet registered? 

CLICK HERE to view the event website and join a team, create a team, or donate today!

Click on any image below to see what these teams are doing:




Save Your Skin Foundation notes the unique accessibility of the Challenge as an important part of campaign. “Skin cancer can happen to anyone. It’s caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or tanning beds. We therefore wanted a campaign that was accessible to anyone”, explains Kathleen Barnard, President and Founder, Save Your Skin Foundation and stage four melanoma survivor. “People have come up with very creative ideas that work within their Challenge comfort zones. One team is doing CrossFit, another is doing an axe-throwing contest and I’ll be cycling 55 kilometres in Montreal on Monday!”

Email us to let us know what you’re doing for MOVE FOR MELANOMA! 

Stay tuned for more photos and excitement from the events next weekend.  We will also post thanks to our generous sponsors, including:

Bristol-Meyers Squibb Canada, Montreal, Quebec

AXED Throwing Club, Thornbury, Ontario

Beach City CrossFit, Penticton, BC

MadLab School of Fitness, Vancouver, BC

And many more!




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ASCO 2019 Event Report

The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting took place from May 31-June 4, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This event brings together over thirty thousand oncologists, pharmaceutical representatives, and patient advocates from across the world and across cancer types for five days of networking, learning, and presenting new research.

Every year, Save Your Skin Foundation puts together a report of the panels regarding updates on the innovative treatment of melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, and ocular melanoma. Included in the report are detailed recollections of these panels, in chronological order.

Please CLICK HERE to download and read the report.


Feedback or questions?  Contact us –

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Launch of Free, Public Sunscreen Dispensers in Kelowna

Today marks the launch of two free, public sunscreen dispensers in key Kelowna hot spots. The project has been powered by Morgan’s Mole Patrol and Save Your Skin Foundation, with the support of the City of Kelowna.  Click here to read our press release.

In memory of her son Morgan Forshner, Karen Wells of Kelowna, started Morgan’s Mole Patrol Foundation to spread awareness about the importance of sun safety. Her aim is to stop the spread of melanoma, a largely preventable cancer – with the application of some sun smart behaviour.  Karen reached out to Kathy Barnard of Save Your Skin Foundation in the initiative, and quickly a partnership was born.

This launch is just the beginning of Karen and Kathy’s plan to install many more dispensers in Kelowna and all over British Columbia.  Stay tuned for news!

First located at the Kelowna’s Visitor Centre downtown, and the Kelowna Golf & Country Club, the dispensers are automatic and touchless, and will provide free, Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen for anyone who needs it. The dispensers use SPF 30 sunscreen, free from known dangerous ingredients such as parabens, oxybenzone, retinyl palminate, phthalate, PEG, parfume, and sodium lauryl sulphate.

Applying sunscreen is part of an overall sun-safe way to enjoy the outdoors. First, limit your time in the direct sunlight, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat. Use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or after swimming.

Shoutout to David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, who first launched their sunscreen dispensers pilot in Toronto in 2017. Since then they continue to inspire us all with the growth of their program, totalling 50 dispensers in 2018, and they now have 75. Way to go!

Congratulations to Karen and her family, we know Morgan would feel honoured today.





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All.Can Patient Survey Report Launched Today!

All.Can international has launched a report titled ‘Patient insights on cancer care: opportunities for improving efficiency’. It reveals findings from an international survey on the patient perspectives of inefficiencies in cancer care. With insights from almost 4,000 patients in over 10 countries, the report identifies four key areas of opportunity for improvement and highlights the need to establish a sustainable approach to cancer care.

The Patient insights on cancer care: opportunities for improving efficiency report is based on the findings from the All.Can patient survey conducted from January to November, 2018. This is to our knowledge, the first international survey designed to gather patient perspectives on inefficiencies in cancer care i.e. how their care experience could be improved.  The survey was open to current and former cancer patients (and their carers) of all ages and with all cancer types.

The survey was conducted internationally, with bespoke versions in ten separate countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. There was also a generic international survey available in English, French, German and Spanish.

As a member of All.Can, Save Your Skin Foundation is proud to support this work and we wish to thank all of the Canadian patients, survivors, family members and caregivers that participated in this survey and shared their perspectives about their cancer experiences.

To read more about the survey methodology and resulting report, to read the full report as an e-book, or to download the full report as a pdf, please click here: 

All.Can Patient Survey Report


To read our press release about the launch of the survey report with Canadian-specific statics, please click here: New Cancer Report Reveals Opportunities for Governments to ‘Do the Right Thing by Patients’

Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming Canada-specific version of the survey report.


About All.Can international

All.Can is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative, dedicated to tackling inefficiency in cancer care – where inefficiency is defined as any allocation of resources that does not focus on what matters to patients. Its ambition is to help drive solutions for sustainable care for all those affected by cancer.

All.Can international’s membership includes representatives from leading patient organisations, policymakers, healthcare professionals, research and industry. To find out more about the membership of All.Can, visit:

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Congratulations Miss Lower Mainland BC 2019-2020

Save Your Skin Foundation is proud to congratulate our inspiring friend Aman Merdha, for her successful participation in the 2019 Miss BC Pageant at the beginning of July.  Aman had approached us in the spring with an idea for a partnership, and we quickly grew to love her enthusiasm for skin patient advocacy, personal growth, and sharing her energy with her community and her province.  Aman undertook many responsibilities as part of competing in this pageant, including raising sun safety awareness and planning ideas for how she could help others love the skin they are in, and she was crowned Miss Lower Mainland 2019-2020!  Congratulations Aman!

To fulfill the role that goes with this title, Aman has to plan events and activities that uphold the values on which she built her platform, and one way she will do this is by working with SYSF to raise awareness about sun safety with youth in various BC schools.  Part of her journey is also the opportunity to participate in the Miss Canada Pageant in March of 2020.  We look forward to supporting Aman in all of her endeavours – stay tuned for updates.

To learn about Aman’s experience at the Miss BC Pageant in her own words, please read her guest blog below.


Guest blog, by Aman Merdha, Miss Lower Mainland 2019-20

I never envisioned myself standing up on a stage, and being able to communicate my passion with hundreds of people. It is so mind boggling to me to think that going into the Miss BC Pageant, I felt anxious, nervous, quite honestly, unworthy of being there. As the weekend was coming to an end, I found myself feeling very emotional, not only because I was given the privilege of being Miss Lower Mainland 2019-2020, but also because of the sense of pride I felt for all of us.

When we all first arrived on Saturday morning, I truly didn’t know what to think. Everyone looked so beautiful, and I felt very nervous to approach anybody. One of the first people I approached was Charlotte. She was so kind and friendly, and minutes later I found myself laughing among a group of women I barely knew.

The Miss BC Pageant focuses on sharing our stories, and empowering each other through those stories. One of the very first things we did was share our Heart and Soul with one another. Many women opened up about their experiences with a variety of issues women face today, and I was moved to tears. Once we had all shared our stories, and confided in one another, I felt as if I had known these women much longer than just an hour.

The rest of the day flew by, and I found myself arriving the next day with a much lighter heart. I did not wear any makeup, and I truly felt like myself. This was one of those moments where I realized how comfortable I felt in my own skin, and how accepting and loving everybody was. I found myself supporting and encouraging these women, and I felt empowered by each of them. All of them were so different, and had such different platforms, but they all radiated the same positive energy, and wanted to create change.

I felt relieved, and this feeling of relief, believe it or not, did not fade when I met the judges for my private interview. The interview was so friendly, and light hearted. I talked a lot about what Save Your Skin Foundations message meant to me, and found myself engaging with everyone, even after the interview, as if they were one of my closest friends. Any interaction I had, I made sure to spread melanoma awareness, and even offered sunscreen samples, to further educate them regarding this matter.

Rehearsals were an actual struggle since I cannot dance for the life of me, and found myself feeling pretty upset about not being able to keep up with everyone else. I felt as if I had done my absolute best this weekend, and I was not going to let this dance number ruin my confidence. In order to combat these negative thoughts, I took some time away from the group, and reminded myself that I was worthy of attending this pageant, and I was not going to let this break me down. I got up, and I continued to dance. I never actually ended up learning the dance properly, but hey, at least I tried.

I came back on Monday feeling very happy, but also very sad. I did not want the pageant to end. The Miss BC Pageant gave me the opportunity to not only share my platform with a large quantity of people, but they also helped me claw out of my shell. I would never have been able to engage with so many people all at once before this pageant. It truly helped me better my communication skills.

During the actual finale, I felt very confident in myself, and it felt as if I was just hanging out with a group of friends. Everyone in the audience was so supportive of everyone. I remember standing on stage,and feeling so proud of everyone. Once they began calling names, I felt so happy for each and every woman who was receiving the recognition they deserved, and mid way through, lone behold, they called my name to be part of the top fifteen contestants that were going to be considered for provincial titles.

I remember standing backstage, and I was feeling very nervous, so I kept shaking my hands out constantly. Once I was on stage, and was asked a question, the words just started to flow out of my mouth. I wasn’t thinking about what I was saying, yet when I finished talking and looked up at the judges and the audience, the one thing that went through my head was “look at you.”

I never would have been able to talk to so many people before this pageant. All the people I was so lucky to meet, and all the workshops I was so grateful to participate in, had paid off. It was in that moment when I realized that no matter the outcome, I had won something. I was walking away with the experience of a lifetime, and basically a better version of me. I realized what I was capable of, and made a promise to myself to keep working on a better me.

Without Save Your Skin Foundation, I would not have met these amazing women, and I would not have been able to spread their message on a provincial platform. They were the ones who believed in me before I believed in myself. I do not have words to explain how much this experience has changed me as an individual, and it has also opened so many doors for me in the last little bit. I cannot wait to continue fundraising and supporting Save Your Skin Foundation at the Miss Canada Pageant as well.


For more information please visit

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