At the Heart of it – We Help Who Matters Most

Thanks to the emergence of trial drugs and more well-informed communities, patients can survive aggressive Melanoma.

Recently we spoke to Mike Allan and Shannon Gaudette, two Melanoma survivors whom Save Your Skin has helped throughout their journey and kept in touch with.

Mike, a 57 year old from Prince George, BC, worked in the finance department of a car dealership before he was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma in 2007. Between then and his discovery of Save Your Skin, he had undergone four surgeries, his cancer had moved to his groin, and had been told he only had a year left to live. In 2009, his sister found an article about Save Your Skin in a Vancouver newspaper. After looking up the Foundation, Mike called Kathy, who got him in contact with Dr. Michael Smylie in Edmonton. Instead of Doctors telling him they didn’t know what to do about his Melanoma, Mike now had a doctor who believed could help him. In October 2009, Mike was put on the Yervoy trial in Edmonton, driving seven hours each way, regardless of weather, on what Mike labelled a “highway to hell” in between Prince George and Edmonton every three months. In 2010, Mike’s cancer progressed to Stage 4B Metastatic Melanoma with a development of a tumor in his chest that pressed against his esophagus and heart, and was later put on the Darafinib trial in Edmonton. He and his wife were now making the trip back and forth every three weeks, the cost of which in gas and accommodations was becoming too much. “That is when Kathy really stepped up to the plate,” Mike told me. After Kathy emailed Mike asking if he needed help, Save Your Skin began helping with Mike’s travel costs, including a few flights to Edmonton. As Mike was on disability during treatment, he told me that the monetary assistance he received “really smoothed out a messy situation.” “From that point on, Save Your Skin was constantly in our lives.” Mike told me, “And making all this happen. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Kathy, because we couldn’t have afforded it.”

Mike is now finished treatments and “working his way back into life again”, and he and Kathy still continue to talk frequently and he’s met her several times. In November 2014, Mike came to Vancouver to attend the Save Your Skin survivors meeting, an event hosted by the foundation to connect Melanoma survivors. Mike cites this personal attention to the people she helps as one of the reasons Kathy is such a fantastic resources for those dealing with Melanoma. “She took a personal approach to it,” he said of Kathy, “and it really made a difference. She is concerned.”

Shannon, a 43 year old from Abbotsford who worked as a Youth Outreach Case Manager in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side before being diagnosed with melanoma, has also looked to Kathy’s personal experience with melanoma during her own battle. “She validates what you’re feeling,” Shannon told me, “I don’t think I would be doing as well as I am, mentally and physically, if it wasn’t for Save Your Skin.” Shannon, who has had nine surgeries from melanoma, was diagnosed in 2005. Her cancer advanced to Stage 3 in the lymph nodes of her arm in 2010, and by 2011 had progressed to Stage 4 and spread to her brain, liver, lungs, and intestines. Shannon also became pregnant in 2010, and had brain surgery during her pregnancy. After her daughter was born, Shannon was given full brain radiation and then, like Mike, was put on Yervoy. By this time, the treatment was available in North Vancouver. Just after her diagnosis in 2005, Shannon heard about Save Your Skin through Robin, one of Kathy’s nephews who happens to be a good friend of Shannon’s husband. In 2010, once her cancer had progressed to Stage 3, Shannon emailed Kathy for the first time. “I wanted all the information I could get,” Shannon told me. “Any support groups, right away. I just wanted to inform and educate myself and be around her as much as I could. I was terrified.”

Like Mike, Shannon still stays in contact with Kathy. Kathy visits Shannon regularly, and Shannon describes Kathy as a “surrogate grandmother” to her daughter, Maddy. When we asked Shannon what she thought Save Your Skin had helped her the most with, she told me: “Support, which is so invaluable. To make you feel like you’re not alone.” Shannon passes this invaluable resource along, remaining a member on the Save Your Skin board, attending fundraisers and symposiums, and helping with patient support. When her daughter’s pre-school, offered to make a donation in support of Shannon’s family after her most recent surgery, she asked them to donate it to the foundation. “Save Your Skin is really the reason that we’re still here,” Shannon told me.

This sentiment is something Shannon and Mike agree on, even with having completely different battles with Melanoma and having received help in different ways. Their stories are inspirational on their own, and they are two examples of the kind of people Save Your Skin strives to help: regular people, who find themselves in a “messy situation”.


Written by Taylor

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I’m Living Proof

About the I’m Living Proof Initiative

When Kathy Barnard (Founder, Save Your Skin Foundation) was diagnosed with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma in 2003, the first thing she did was look to the Internet for: hope, a survivor, a treatment option – look for something that would inspire optimism in her prognosis. She didn’t find it.

The I’m Living Proof initiative is a program intended to provide a wealth of information, resources, and support to those touched by the disease, while also connecting you to a network of survivors who have shared their stories. This initiative is borne from Kathy’s desire to ensure that those diagnosed with melanoma know that surviving melanoma is possible –“I’m Living Proof”

As little as two years ago options for Melanoma were limited but today, there is real hope for survivorship. I’m Living Proof is a testament to those who have survived melanoma. The Save Your Skin Foundation is committed to providing support to those who have and those who will be diagnosed with Melanoma – Join us! Click here to share your story with us.

I’m Living Proof website COMING SOON! Stay tuned and make sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates! Until then, make sure to check out our recent press release here!

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Hands Across the Globe

If you have done a trail run or a bike race in North Vancouver, there’s a good chance you have seen a Save Your Skin jersey on somebody; a white jersey covered with Kathy’s handprints in a yellow, red and orange palette, it definitely stands out. Save Your Skin is fortunate enough to have a community of local runners and bikers who wear these eye-catching jerseys in both Vancouver and international events, with the hopes of supporting the foundation and raising Melanoma awareness in the athletic community. The creation of the jerseys was inspired by Rosemary, Kathy’s sister. We had a chat recently about the origins of the jersey, and how an outfit has helped Save Your Skin connect to the North Vancouver athletic community.

The first thing Rose wanted to share with us was how much she loved the aesthetics of the jersey. “The jerseys are bright, colourful, and they’re full of life and energy,” she said, smiling, “Positive, positive energy.” The colours of the jersey certainly are uplifting in dark trails, and they attract attention. “It brings up a lot of questions,” Rose told us, noting that many people do trail events for the sake of a cause. “Even if they haven’t been affected by it personally, most people just want to help with anything, around any form of cancer. Because every household is dealing with that.” Skin cancer is especially present in the outdoor athletic community because, as Rose puts it, “they expose themselves to the sun a lot, by doing things they want to do.” The response that this community has had to the jersey is evidence of that connection. Rose has met several people in the trails who have gone on to purchase jerseys or become involved with Save Your Skin, and likewise she has learned about other organizations through the running community.

This is not the only way the running community has helped Save Your Skin; it was there before Save Your Skin even existed. When Kathy and Rose began to talk about wanting to start a foundation, Rose’s running friends were eager to help out. Obviously, their next step was to start, or sponsor, a run. They approached Heather MacDonald, a member of Mountain Madness and organizer of the local Phantom Run, about creating an event. She informed them that they wouldn’t be able to do much without being an accredited organization, which prompted the creation of Save Your Skin! The jerseys were designed soon after, and were first worn by Rose and her running tribe in the 2006 Phantom Run. They have since been worn in the Ironman Canada, BC Bike Race, the GranFondo, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, several Vancouver Marathons, the Dirty Duo, the Knee Knacker, the Trans Rockies run, and the Boston, Seattle, Napa Valley, Maui and Edinburgh marathons.

Rose says that her first time crossing the finish line of a run while wearing her jersey, and hearing the announcer talk about Save Your Skin, was a surreal moment. “All of a sudden I wasn’t just another participant in a run, I was linked to somebody I loved so much who was dealing with something newsworthy. It was so big.” In a position that made her feel helpless, being able to don the Save Your Skin jersey and spread the word made Rose feel like she was able to help in some way.

Rose plans to wear her jersey in every event she runs in for the foreseeable future, as the jersey connects two of the great loves of her life; running, and her sister. Running is an especially important activity for Rose, as it was the perfect distraction during Kathy’s battle with Melanoma. “Honestly,” she told us, “when Kath was sick, one of the only things that helped me through that process was being out in the middle of our beautiful forests and being able to get away for a little bit, and just sort of be reminded to put everything into perspective. You know, when you’re out in the forest, with the rivers, and the moss, and the ferns, it does put life into perspective. How lucky we are to be here, even for a short period of time.” Rose acknowledges how lucky she is to live in such a beautiful place with her frequent running, and acknowledges how lucky she is to still have her sister by wearing the Save Your Skin jersey when she does it.

Rose will be running Sun Mountain Trail run 80 kilometre Ultra Marathon in the Cascade mountain range of Washington state and also look out for the Save Your Skin jerseys in the upcoming BMO Marathon, and the Vancouver Sun Run!

Click here to make a donation to the Save Your Skin Foundation today!


Written by Taylor

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Lending a Hand

Shaheed Khan of Khan Kreativ has been a friend and neighbour of Kathy Barnard’s for many years, and is infamous among the Save Your Skin community for being the designer of the Save Your Skin sun logo. Shaheed has been thinking about the evolution of the logo lately, and wrote a short essay for us about its origin from a graphic designers point of view.

Logo design is fun, yet hard to perfect. As logos need to represent the brand effectively and communicate their mission at the same time, logos demand time for their planning and conceptualization.

As a graphic designer, it feels great to find my clients so convinced about the power of a logo and what benefits it can earn them; therefore, I would say it is not just enough getting a simple logo designed for the sake of just having it. With these aims in mind, designing a great logo is no easy task.

Kathy approached me and briefed me on the Foundation and its objectives, requesting my help on a logo design. I knew immediately that this was going to be a challenge, as the creation of any logo is. After researching what was needed for the project, I knew I did not want to create just any charity logo. I wanted to create something that was exceptional and memorable, that would reflect what the Foundation is about. Something to tell the story effectively and convey its message with a lasting legacy. I knew I had to think outside the box.

Inspirations or conceptuals can strike immediately or agonizingly linger with frustration, but in this case it came quickly. That evening as I went to bed, I happened to look at the wall and was suddenly inspired by a framed picture of my young daughters hand print . With this inspiration I applied the concept of utilizing Kathy’s hand print, then creating the shape of the “SUN”, which seemed to be the logical step forward. I was confident in this idea, yet I still had to sell it to Kathy. After presenting my idea to Kathy, she immediately fell in in love with the concept, so out came the paint and I wasted no time in getting a print of her hand to begin what is now the Save your Skin Foundation logo.

From concept to reality, the logo has evolved into a strong visual identity, representing the SYSF brand effectively. As you can imagine, a great logo is not the end but the beginning of building a great brand identity!

We spoke to Shaheed recently to have a less technical discussion about the inspiration for and evolution of the eye-catching and colourful logo that has become synonymous with the Save Your Skin brand.

When we asked Shaheed if the Save Your Skin sun counted among his favourite projects, he told me that “Kathy’s one always comes up, because there’s such a brilliant story to go with it.” As far as logos go, Shaheed is right; the Save Your Skin sun is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also rife with symbolism for the work the foundation does and Kathy’s own life. The inspiration for the logo is deeply personal to Shaheed as well.

While inspiration for a project can take weeks or even months to come, Shaheed stumbled upon his idea for the sun logo pretty quickly. However, before inspiration struck, he had anticipated that it would be challenging to create “something that had to symbolize a charity, and also had to symbolize the sun.” After a day of research and pondering possible designs, Shaheed was heading up to bed when he noticed a framed picture on the stairs; the handprint of his four year old daughter, Chloe. Looking at the hand, he saw skin (figuratively), and the sun’s rays in the fingers. “When I saw it,” Shaheed told us, “I knew instantly what I had to do”. The next day, Shaheed was mocking up the first draft of the Save Your Skin logo.

The colours Shaheed chose, vibrant yellow and red, were not only intended to represent the sun, but also the symbolic values of yellow as fun and happiness, and red as danger and passion. While he had all of these things in mind, Shaheed characterizes his choosing of the specific shades he used as “a complete fluke.” It turned out to be a very lucky fluke. The colours he chose have not only become synonymous with the foundation, coincidentally, they are the colours of Kathy’s favourite flower in her home away from home in Palm Springs, the desert orange.

While this lucky colour selection heightened the appeal of the logo to Kathy, it was perfect for her already. Kathy loved everything about the logo, from it’s appearance to it’s symbolic representation of the foundation. She especially loves that the inspiration came from Shaheed’s daughter, Chloe, whom Kathy has always had a close relationship with. This connection goes both ways; Kathy gave Chloe one of the first Save Your Skin t-shirts with the hand logo, and Shaheed told us that Chloe still sleeps in it. His inspiration coming from Chloe is also Shaheed’s sentimental link to this project. He told us, “the emotion for me comes from the connection with people and Chloe”; for Shaheed, the hands of the logo are all about connection. He summarizes his interpretation of the hand logo by saying, “what’s connected to this hand is a whole bunch of personal endeavours and tragic things, and friends, and family.” This is definitely a true aspect of Save Your Skin, an organization that began as a very small number of people trying to assist others dealing with their own tragedies. Shag later mentioned that “those fingers represent friends and family that are all connected to that hand”, which is also true, given the endless friends and family that have supported the foundation, and those struggling with melanoma that the foundation has helped. This is only one interpretation, and Shaheed realizes that there are many other possibilities. “I think that’s what makes this logo very unique. It’s not just a pretty logo, there’s more to it than a colourful feel, or a symbol of the sun,” he muses, “there’s a lot hidden in there.”

Another perk of the Save Your Skin logo’s depth is that it has matched the evolution of the foundation. When Shaheed created the logo, Save Your Skin was such a fledgling company – no one anticipated what the foundation would go on to achieve. Now, the hands are more than a sun; they are Kathy’s literal hand (cool, right?) connecting with, helping, and protecting people, which is very indicative of the work Save Your Skin does. The physical shape of the logo has also proven to be malleable to Save Your Skin’s different projects, and for these Shaheed has created other logos based on the sun. These endeavours include the “Diamond in the Sky” logo, and the logo for the Sun at Work initiative. When someone the foundation has connected with passes, Kathy names a star after them to keep their memory alive, thus the “Diamond in the Sky”, which is used on the certificates that Kathy gives to the families of these people who have passed. The Sun at Work initiative is a national project Save Your Skin is participating in, along with several other skin cancer organizations, to create sun safety programs in outdoor workplaces. The logos for both of these projects include the original hand print of Kathy’s.

When Shaheed was asked why he anticipated that the Save Your Skin project would be a challenge, he said “the challenge for me was to have the right thing.” He did create the right thing; he created something that will last forever, and be Kathy’s legacy, just as he intended. He is now also a part of that legacy, as one of the fingers on the hand.


Written by Taylor

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The Save Your Skin Foundation Supports Lettres en main’s New Book about Skin

The Save Your Skin Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of the most recent edition of Lettres en main (which translates to ‘Letters in hand’ in English) – in this volume (no. 21), the topic is ’Skin’ in all its aspects and particularities. As a part of the text is devoted to education about skin cancer and the importance of sun protection and avoiding tanning salons, the Save Your Skin Foundation wished to help support the initiative.

Lettres en main is a popular Quebecois literacy group, which operates in Montreal with the main objective to help combat illiteracy. Among its many activities, the association develops and disseminates educational materials through its collection Les nouvelles connaissances usuelles – or ‘New common knowledge’ in English. The most recent edition (volume 21) highlights ‘skin’, in which the Save Your Skin Foundation contributed.

These booklets, designed primarily for people in a French literacy program, are written in simple vocabulary, in a fairly large print and include many illustrations to make them easy, accessible to many, and enjoyable to read. They touch on a variety of topics allowing readers to improve their reading skills while developing knowledge on topics of interest about every day life, such as environment, diet and the human body…

If you have a project related to skin cancer awareness and education, please contact us. We’d love to explore every opportunity for a collaboration or a partnership. Just send an email at or send us a message via our Facebook page.

couvert-print de La peau pour La Fondation Sauve ta Peau

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Two major milestones for ground-breaking melanoma immunotherapies bring a hopeful beginning for 2015

Yervoy moves another step towards being available for newly diagnosed Canadian patients and new treatment Opdivo receives FDA approval

VANCOUVER (January 6, 2015) – 2015 is starting with good news and hope for melanoma patients thanks to two major milestones for ground-breaking melanoma immunotherapies. The Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is very pleased to learn that a new treatment, Opdivo (nivolumab), has been given its first approval in the United States to treat advanced melanoma in patients who have not responded to other treatments. At the same time, the original melanoma immunotherapy, Yervoy (ipilimumab), has moved along another step in the process of becoming available as a first treatment for newly diagnosed Canadian patients.

Health Canada approved Yervoy for first line use earlier this year. The pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR), has now issued a positive recommendation for provinces to pay for Yervoy for newly diagnosed advanced melanoma patients. Until now, patients have had to try and fail on older treatments before governments would pay for Yervoy.

“Being able to try an immunotherapy such as Yervoy right after diagnosis is a big step forward for patients,” added Kathy Barnard. “The earlier patients can try the new therapies, the greater the chances that they will be strong enough for the treatment to be effective. We hope provinces will now move quickly to accept the pCODR recommendation to make Yervoy available for newly diagnosed advanced melanoma patients. Every melanoma patient should have an equal chance to survive.”

The latest treatment, Opdivo, like Yervoy, is also an immunotherapy, meaning it works by stimulating the body’s own immune system to fight and kill cancer cells. However, Opdivo stimulates the immune system in a different way than Yervoy. This is what makes it so promising for those patients who won’t respond to Yervoy or other immunotherapies or when those treatments no longer work. SYSF is very hopeful that the FDA approval means that Opdivo will soon be approved in Canada.

“This is wonderful news for people with advanced melanoma and their families because it offers additional hope in dealing with this disease. Just years ago, patients were surviving on average six months. Today the word survivorship is a reality; it’s truly amazing.” said Kathy Barnard, Save Your Skin Foundation President and Founder and an 11-year survivor of melanoma thanks to participating in a clinical trial for Yervoy. “Melanoma treatment has evolved so dramatically over the past few years. The new treatments literally are giving melanoma patients a chance to live and survive. I know because I’m living proof of it.”

About Melanoma in Canada
Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with melanoma, with the incidence of the disease increasing faster than that of any other cancer. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. One in 74 men and 1 in 90 women are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime. Melanoma is clearly visible on the skin, and 90 per cent of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light, including tanning beds.

About the Save Your Skin Foundation
The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer – especially melanoma. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Madelynn Festing

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The Save Your Skin Foundation received very good news from the 2014 Society of Melanoma Research Congress.

After Merck Keytruda, BMS’s Opdivo showed very good results in a trial where it improves survival over chemotherapy. About 73% of melanoma patients receiving the Bristol-Myers drug, nivolumab, were still alive one year after the start of treatment, compared with 42% of those receiving chemotherapy dacarbazine, according to results published online by the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Congress in Zurich. It looks like immunotherapy now has centre stage in advanced melanoma treatment.

Have access to the original article published in the New England Journal of Medicine here.

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The Save Your Skin Foundation Story – a nieces perspective

Did you catch our most recent newsletter? If not, make sure you sign-up today to receive great news and updates like the following…

You may have read the Save Your Skin Foundation’s story here…but, as you probably know, everyone has their own story – and Founder and President, Kathleen Barnard’s niece has kindly shared one of her own. Thank you for your inspiring and beautiful story Taylor!

“In May of 2003, I wanted to be an astronaut; a pretty common dream for a child of ten. A less common aspect of my “studying” to be an astronaut was that it was all practical. On any given night you could find myself and Kathleen Barnard – my aunt, neighbour, and favourite person in the world – on her back deck, drinking hot chocolate while I pointed out constellations to her. Also in May of 2003, Kathleen was diagnosed with stage three malignant melanoma.

Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, the result of a life spent outdoors. For Kath, this was often on a baseball diamond, either playing or coaching the team of myself or one of her two sons. The cancer manifested itself in a tumour on Kath’s arm, the size of which my family (myself excluded, as I was ten and oblivious) had been watching anxiously. Upon hearing the news, I can assume that Kath was as flawlessly optimistic as she has been every day since. I can confidently say that the only hope or happiness any of us had in that time was in watching Kath’s determination to beat the disease, and her strength has inspired all of us to be stronger in our own lives.

The first form of treatment Kath would undergo was Interferon, which involves a self-injection three nights a week for a year, accompanied by the side effects of hair and weight loss, and flu-like symptoms. Not a process for the faint of heart. Here, I should mention that I was only told about Kath’s illness after she had begun receiving treatments, when her physical changes were going to become too obvious to ignore; the fact that I had no idea that this was going on before she told me, demonstrates how strong she was, continuing to live her normal life by going to work and continuing to coach my softball team for as long as she could. After her year of treatment, we received the news that she was cancer free, and all of us, Kath especially, looked forward to resuming our normal lives.

A year later, in the May of 2005, one of Kath’s checkups revealed a tumour on her lung. Not only had the cancer returned, but had advanced to stage four: the most aggressive stage. This time, Kath underwent Chemotherapy. I was growing older and more terrified at the prospect of losing my aunt, and my life essentially consisted of crying in bed, then crying in my mom’s bed, then getting up and crying at school. Kath’s attitude, however, juxtaposed all of ours; she hosted family dinners and trips to Whistler, getting us all together as much as she could. She would always have some surprise up her sleeve, such as bringing a collection of children’s musical instruments to make a family band (I’m not joking), or christmas crafts for us to do in Whistler. Even while there was talk of removing her entire lung as the tumour grew, and as her cancer metastasized to her kidney, liver, bones and ribs, she never lost her smile, or showed us how exhausted she must have been.

After extensive and desperate google searches, my cousin found a Doctor in Edmonton who was running a trial drug called Interleukin. The drug had showed positive results in 16% of trial subjects at that point, and no one had yet survived the entire treatment. The trial required Kath (and another member of our family-her husband, one of her sons, or my mom) to fly to Edmonton every second week to spend the full week in intensive care, receiving the drug though an IV every eight hours. While I never went with Kath (though I donated all my pocket money to her flights!), I gathered that the side effects of this treatment included nausea, weight gain, a rash, and low blood pressure. To help herself persevere through the treatment, Kath would write something on each bag to inspire her: things like the names of her family, friends, the girls on my softball team, future vacation destinations. She never complained; on her tongue instead were a million reasons her fight was worthwhile.

After four rounds of Interleukin, Kath was finally declared to be in remission. However, instead of trying to push the thought of cancer out of her mind, Kath and her amazing sister (and my mom) Rosemary decided to start the Save Your Skin Foundation. The fact that you are reading this anecdote right now proves that Kath’s enthusiasm paid off, and the foundation is successful. The Save Your Skin foundation seeks to promote the prevention of skin cancers, such as melanoma, via education and awareness. It also helps provide families struggling with the disease with personal and financial support in finding trial drugs. In short, the Foundation tries to prevent other families from going through what our own family did.

Unfortunately, the struggle was not over for Kath. In 2007, a CT scan showed the presence of a tumour in her small intestine. It was stage four malignant melanoma again, and Kath was immediately hospitalized and given an invasive surgery to relieve the pressure on her intestine. Her surgery and re-starting treatments did nothing but increase Kath’s drive to make sure the Save Your Skin Foundation was a success. She began putting together a Save Your Skin booth at local events, run by our family and friends, to get the Foundation out there as much as possible.

By February of 2008, Kath was flying back and forth between Edmonton and Vancouver again, but this time every twenty-one days and to receive the new trial immunotherapy Yervoy. She had been given four rounds of Yervoy when a new tumour was discovered in her kidney – an organ that she had to have removed in January 2009. After countless late night tea and creamsicle runs, it was over. That surgery, and January 2009, marks the date when Kath’s real remission began, and she has been cancer free ever since.

Since 2006, Kath has worked tirelessly to help the Save Your Skin Foundation grow, and I am pleased to report that it is now an international organization. Along the way, Kath and Save Your Skin have helped so many families who are lost upon receiving their diagnosis. A look at the ‘Survivor Stories’ and ‘Memory of our Friends’ section of the SYS website demonstrates how much amazing work Kath and Save Your Skin has done. I have truly never seen someone so passionate about their work, which is even more impressive when this person should be exhausted.

I am so honoured to be involved in such an important organization, so proud of my aunt, and so endlessly thankful that she’s still here with us. Though I no longer want to travel to space, I’m very grateful that Kath and I are still able to drink hot chocolate on the back deck and look at the stars.”

Thank you again for your story Taylor!

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SYSF Statement on Picato CDR and RoA

The Save Your Skin Foundation is disappointed with the recent Record of Advice released by the Canadian Drug Expert Committee (CDEC) in regards to the innovative actinic keratosis (AK) treatment Picato (ingenol mebutate). We don’t feel the Record of Advice adequately addressed the important questions asked by the Common Drug Review (CDR) participating Drug Plans and didn’t take into account the benefits patients experience with this therapy.

The Save Your Skin Foundation is committed to principals that provide patients choice in their own treatment. Picato requires a 2 to 3 day dosing schedule as compared to older treatments that are dosed for up to 16 weeks, during which time significant serious skin reactions persist including burning, peeling, swelling and pain. A shorter dosing schedule greatly increases the likelihood of the treatment being completed by the patient.

AK is a common pre-cancerous skin condition that can lead to non-melanoma skin cancer. In fact, somewhere between 60 and 80 per cent of squamous cell carcinoma begin as actinic keratosis, and although AK lesions aren’t cancerous, people with AK are six times more likely to develop skin cancer than people without. This is why the effective treatment of AK is vital.

Based on the advance Picato represents for patients due to the significant improvement in treatment regimen and potential to increase patient adherence, the Save Your Skin Foundation commends the Provinces for initiating the Request for Advice. We now look to the Provinces and the manufacturer to ensure that patients have access to this important therapy.

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Free Skin Screenings Across Canada

The CDA will be holding free, public skin cancer screenings and other events throughout Sun Awareness Week.

The screenings will take place in cities and towns across the country. To find the screening clinic nearest you, check the list of confirmed dates and locations on our events page.

To hear about new dates and locations as they’re announced, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook.

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