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fundraising

Looking Back at 2021

Our 2021 Annual Reports are out now!

It’s always a rewarding experience to look back on the past year and see how much the Foundation has accomplished.

Despite another year amid the pandemic, Save Your Skin Foundation and Ocumel Canada have continued to grow partnerships, operations and services, and reach more people touched by melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma.

We are extremely grateful to our community of patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and sponsors who continue to inspire and support us in our endeavors.

Click on the images below to view the reports:

 

 

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A Viking’s Challenge 3rd Edition is Here!

In March of 2020, Chris Isfeld and his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson completed a massive challenge. Three years after Chris was diagnosed with late stage melanoma and recovered from being partially paralyzed from the waist down, they ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.

One year later, they were facing a different kind of Viking’s challenge: a global pandemic that kept Chris from returning to Gimli to run on the lake with Shawn. But that didn’t stop them from getting people all over Canada to join them in running and walking to raise funds and awareness wherever they were.

This year, life has thrown Chris yet another curve-ball. A large mass was found on his right adrenal gland, forcing him to stop training to focus on his treatment. Though Chris is hopeful that the immunotherapy treatment that saved his life in 2017 will help him overcome this latest challenge, he needs our support!

Let’s show Chris he is not alone on this journey by joining A Viking’s Challenge and pledging to run or walk! By channeling our inner Vikings, we will make a powerful statement of support for Chris and fellow melanoma patients across Canada.

All registrants will receive a charitable donation tax receipt and those who want one will receive a beautiful A Viking’s Challenge participant medal. To learn more about Chris’s story and previous years’ events, click here.

 

Event Details

When: March 4 – 6, 2022
Where: Anywhere in Canada. Shawn Bjornsson will be running in Gimli, MB, the largest icelandic community outside of Iceland.
How: To participate, you must first register here and pledge to run a certain number of kilometres. We will keep a running tally of the number of kilometres pledged and see how many times we can “cross” Lake Winnipeg.

Each participant will have the option to get a free medal to commemorate their participation. Special t-shirts and other merchandise are also available for purchase in our Etsy store!

As always, every dollar raised through this event will go directly to assisting melanoma, non melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients meet their everyday needs during treatment in the form of transportation, accommodation, child care and more.

So what are you waiting for? Register now and start training to channel your inner Viking!

 

 

 

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With Thanks to All Move for Melanoma 2021 Participants, Donors, and Sponsors

A tremendous THANK YOU to all of our incredibly dedicated participants and generous donors!

95 participants and 29 teams across Canada took part in Move for Melanoma this year! We have been so moved and inspired by this incredible community of patients, families, and friends.

When we set the ambitious goal of raising $75,000 this year, we thought we might be aiming a little high. But clearly, we were right to dream big because, with your help, we ended up surpassing our goal!

To wrap up this monumental weekend, we’ve created the Recap Video below. We hope you will take a few moments to watch it as we pay tribute to our incredible participants, donors and sponsors across Canada.

 

We’d also like to highlight the five fundraising teams that raised the most.

Team Miller
Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller and his wife Natalie fundraised in memory of Natalie’s mother who passed from melanoma last year.  We can’t thank them enough for their support over the last year. Check out the Team Miller page here.

Team Mela-No-More 
Based in Port Moody, BC, Team Captain Stefanie Lynch and her teammates organized a run/walk at Inlet Park and raised almost $11,000! Stefanie’s mother is currently fighting Stage 4 malignant melanoma. Check out her team page here.

Team The Eyes Have It
Based in Victoria, BC, Team Captain Nigel Deacon ran a marathon distance to inspire others to donate to this worthy cause. All together, his team raised an amazing $7,300 for ocular melanoma patients. Nigel was diagnosed with advanced ocular melanoma 10 years ago and now advocates for ocular melanoma patients across Canada.
Check out his team page here.

Team Stringer
Nicole and Michael Stringer hosted a virtual 3km or 5km run/walk in Red Deer Alberta and raised just under $5,000. Michael is currently fighting Stage 4 Melanoma. A heartfelt thank you to the Stringer Family. Check out their team page here.

The Laurence B. “For Life” Team
The Campbell River team, led by Laurence’s mother, Michelle, threw axes for 6 hours and raised almost $4,000. Amazing work everyone! Laurence is currently fighting ocular melanoma. Check out their team page here.

Move for Melanoma Sponsors

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the many businesses that stepped up to support our event this year. Please show them your support!

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Move for Melanoma After Party

Join the funnest part of MOVE FOR MELANOMA this year by joining our VIRTUAL AFTER PARTY! Celebrate with the Save Your Skin team, donors and fellow participants! Everyone is welcome!

The After Party will take place on Sunday, September 26th, 2021 at 5pm PT | 8pm ET on a platform called Topia. If you attended our virtual Giving Hope Gala in the spring, then you will know that Topia is a fun, new, online chat platform that allows us to connect virtually in a more human way. You’ll easily be able to move in and out of conversations with other attendees like you would in person with the platform’s spatial video, while also exploring a world full of surprises.

In the meantime, click here to share, participate in, and stay up to date on the progress of our 3rd annual Move for Melanoma event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • A computer or a tablet – You’ll need a Windows or Mac desktop or laptop computer equipped with a camera, or a Android Tablet or Ipad. For the best experience on Android tablets please use “desktop mode” in Chrome. 
  • A supported web browser – Topia works best on Google Chrome, Edge, and Brave on desktop and laptop computers. For best results we recommend using one of these three browsers.
  • Headphones – There is ambient sound in Topia which is personal to you. Headphones ensure a great experience. Without headphones, higher volume can result in feedback for other guests or mixed sounds which isn’t fun for anyone.

 

How to join:

  • On September 26th at 5pm PT | 8pm ET, click on this link to join: https://topia.io/save-your-skin-foundation. Don’t bother trying to go on beforehand as it will not be available.
  • When you first go in, you will be asked to choose a display name.
  • Your browser will ask for permission to use your camera and audio. If you have Zoom/Teams/Skype open you won’t be able to do this, so please make sure they’re closed first.

 

What to do once you’re in:

  • You can move around the space using either mouse clicks or your arrow cursor buttons.
  • You hear and see people better the closer you are to their little “Topi,” or person.
  • If you walk away from people you hear and see them less. People “fade out” as they get farther away.
  • As you explore, notice when your cursor turns into a pointer. This indicates that the object your mouse is on has a function. Click to interact with the object. 
  • You can mute yourself or others by clicking the speaker icon in the top right corner of your video or theirs. When muted the speaker will turn from black to red.
  • To send a private message to someone at the gala, click on the envelope symbol on their video. If someone sends you a private message, the envelope symbol to the left of your screen will become red. 

 

For complete instructions on how to use Topia and join the party, click here!

 

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Ocumel Canada News!

The Ocumel Canada team has been very busy working on initiatives and strategies to help bring awareness to Ocular Melanoma (OM) and improve care pathways for patients across Canada.  In the spring we conducted a patient/caregiver survey with the intent to gather current information about primary and metastatic OM patient experiences across the country, from diagnosis and genetic testing options, to varying methods of treatment.

We deeply appreciate respondents’ time in filling out this survey, and we have now released a comprehensive report detailing their feedback.

Please click here to view the full report.  This data helps inform our work, and we share it with the treating physicians who handle our cases every day.  We work with treaters and treatment providers to create an ongoing and open dialogue which we believe will serve patients and their families in the most positive way.  We welcome any questions or feedback – please email ocumelcanada@saveyourskin.ca to get in touch!

And in other Ocumel Canada news…

 

We have expanded our participation in the annual SYSF event called “Move for Melanoma” – an activity challenge across Canada to raise funds for melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients.  For the last two years OM patients and supporters have created their own teams on the Move for Melanoma platform, and they are welcome to do so again this year! But for those who may be just meeting us for the first time, or who might simply like to support Ocumel Canada with a donation, we have created Team Ocumel Canadaclick here to check it out.

Save Your Skin Foundation is the only organization in Canada that supports skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients financially when they need it most. All the money raised through donations goes directly to patients in the form of cab fares, treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment.

To join the movement, our friend Laurence has shared his story and is a spokesperson and feature patient for this event.  Laurence has been fighting a battle with Ocular Melanoma for almost four years. Thanks to our Move For Melanoma fundraisers and donors, Save Your Skin Foundation can continue helping Laurence travel to receive a promising new treatment. Read Laurence’s story HERE.

Download these posters for print, and be ready to  register for Move for Melanoma 2021!

 

 

Please note – these resources are all available in French – email us at marianne@saveyourskin.ca for French.

 

ALSO!  Check out our new Ocumel Canada merchandise

Get your shirt today to help support Team Ocumel Canada and the work we do, supporting OM patients across Canada:

           

 

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Laurence’s Story

Vancouver, BC

It was around 1pm and my partner and I were playing with monkeys on a beach in Thailand. That’s the moment my life changed forever.

Out of nowhere, as if someone had just pulled a curtain down over my right eye, this “black line” fell about a quarter of the way down over top of my vision. It was super strange and I immediately asked my partner if there was something she could see in there, but she said no. Apparently it looked fine. I had an instant thought that, maybe because we had been doing a lot of scuba diving this trip, perhaps a blood vessel or muscle became damaged due to the pressure under water.

A week later, once finally arriving back home, and this black line still very present, I went to a walk-in clinic. And from that first doctor’s visit, it took another 6 or 7 days and 4 more doctor’s appointments before I finally heard the end result. That’s also when I heard the scariest 3 words ever said to me in my life: You Have Cancer.  Ocular Melanoma.

Since I can remember, I’ve always had such an appreciation for the pure natural beauty that this world is, and what it means to be able to reflect on that miracle alone. To be able to see one’s place in this universe, on this planet, in this life… to simply be aware of what it is to be alive.

I could never get enough of it!

Growing up on Vancouver Island surrounded by endless natural beauty, and having the freedom to grow and learn in that space, was a priceless experience in shaping this view and appreciation I had developed early on. It inspired me as an artist, a musician, and kept me curious about expanding my world infinitely. It gave me the inspiration to pursue those dreams and passions and to let Experiences be my guide. When I graduated from high school, I moved to Vancouver with my band to become rock stars and follow the path of the arts.

Since that move 18 years ago, I have witnessed and experienced my dreams manifest and become reality so many times over, in so many different ways.

It was the reason I met the love of my life.

It was also the reason I found martial arts.

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, to be precise. The art of the Ninja. It’s an ancient Japanese art, comprised of 9 different martial art schools of the past and refined into one discipline. This art has been studied and passed down through centuries and, through the time of feudal Japan, the Ninja became known as assassins used to take out leaders of war to alter or prevent battles from ever taking place. But once I began to study the true art as passed down through the ages, and separated myself from what I thought I knew from TV and movies, a whole new appreciation and way of experiencing the world was opened to me.

Ninja were in reality farmers, peasants, and simple people not wanting to live under the harsh rule demanded of the time. Their outlook on life was that of Peace, Love, and Compassion for all things. For Life. But, as well, they had a very different view to fighting and conflict.

What mattered was Life and Death, not Winning and Losing. Fighting to win serves only the ego. Fighting to survive something that is intent on taking your life, is necessity. Whatever it takes to wake up in your own bed, or to protect those that are worth your own life, are the only reasons to engage in conflict or battle. Fighting, or preventing a fight to literally survive, is the only reason to ever engage.

I’ve studied this concept for 16+ years, traveled multiple times to Japan to study with my sensei and the Grand Master of the art. I’ve passed the one and only test given in the art, which is for the 5th degree black belt.

The test goes like this: you kneel on the floor in seiza (feet crossed under your butt, back straight, hands on your thighs, relaxed). The Grand Master stands behind you, holding a sword, and whenever he feels ready (meaning 1 second or 10 minutes, any length of time he wants), he will project at you for a split second the most intense feeling of “Death”, and then proceed to strike straight down on top of your head with the sword. Your test is to sense this intense feeling of “Death”, and to roll out of the way avoiding the sword. That is it. You need to know when your life is truly in danger, and then make the right decision. In modern times, a Boken (wooden katana) is used for this test, but originally, it was done using a real katana. Failure to survive was not an option. And yes, I passed my test the first time 😉!

So what do I do now? There is a very clear opponent trying to kill me, its intention is very clear. And I can’t roll out of the way. No matter which way I seem to move, I can’t escape. And I can’t even see my foe to face it eye to eye. In the past 3.5 years fighting, I’ve had 2 major surgeries, 3 separate rounds of radiation, changed my diet and tried immunotherapy, but nothing has worked thus far. Ocular melanoma, once inside the body, is very rare and can be extremely difficult to treat.

But just this April 2021, my life was changed again! I was introduced to Kathy Barnard of Save Your Skin Foundation. I was made aware of the foundation through my doctors at BC Cancer, who said it couldn’t hurt to give her a call.

It was one of the most important phone calls I’ve ever had the pleasure to make. A brand new treatment for ocular melanoma had just become available this year, but was going to require travel once a week from Vancouver to Edmonton. And not just once but for 12 treatments.

That would mean 12 plane tickets, 12 hotel nights, taxi’s to and from the hospital and airports… and unfortunately, I was responsible for all the expenses related to getting to my appointments. That is until I spoke to Kathy.

Save Your Skin Foundation has become my “secret weapon”. Now I have the ability and support to be able to fight back. Not to win this fight, but to ultimately have the best chance to survive.

Kathleen Barnard is a cancer survivor from 2003. In fact she’s a miracle. Not only for having beaten her cancer, but for creating this amazing foundation for people suffering from all forms of melanoma. She and her foundation have been taking care of All of the expenses I mentioned in order to get me where I need to be, and to eliminate the extra stress and pressure from the financial burden this would put on anyone.

It’s one of those scenarios you find yourself giving yourself a pinch every once in a while, just to make sure it’s not a dream. Well, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that it’s no dream. Just a dream turned into reality!

To everyone at Save Your Skin Foundation, to all the donators and supporters, to anyone helping in the fight against All cancers, I thank you!

 

 

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Train Like the Canucks

We are thrilled to be partnering with Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller and his wife Natalie this year to fundraise during Move for Melanoma.

Train Like the Canucks is a team that can be joined by anyone. People who join the team are challenged to complete a workout designed by JT Miller himself with the help of his trainer, which emulates a typical workout performed by the Vancouver Canucks hockey players.

All who join the team will be entered into a draw to win a signed Vancouver Canucks’ jersey and other prizes.

Funds raised by Train Like the Canucks will go to Save Your Skin Foundation, the only organization in Canada that supports skin cancer patients financially when they need it most, in the form of treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment.

To learn more about JT Miller and his wife’s connection to Save Your Skin Foundation, watch the short video below.

Join Train Like the Canucks

 

Q&A

 

How can I join team Train Like the Canucks? 

To join, start by clicking here to register. On the registration page, select “Train Like the Canucks” from the list of activities. If you’re a new user, create an account. If you’re a returning participant, login to your existing account. *If you’ve already registered for another team for this year’s event, you will have to join with a different account using a different email address.* There is a $25 registration fee to join the Train Like the Canucks team.

Does it cost money to be part of Train Like the Canucks?

There is a $25 fee to be part of Train Like the Canucks. All proceeds will go directly to supporting skin cancer patients in need. You are also encouraged to make a donation and to invite your friends and family to support the cause. We thank you in advance for your support.

When will I receive the Canucks workout plan?

Once you are registered with Train Like the Canucks, you will receive the  workout plan by email within a couple of weeks. If you don’t receive it within two weeks, please look in your spam folder or contact marianne@saveyourskin.ca.

I tried joining Train Like the Canucks but I got an error message saying I’m already registered. What should I do? 

Unfortunately, you cannot be part of more than one team with the same account. That means that if you’ve already registered for Move for Melanoma this year, you’ll have to create a separate account to join Train Like the Canucks. To do so, you will need to use a different email address. If you don’t have two email addresses and want to join, please email marianne@saveyourskin.ca to make arrangements.

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Move for Melanoma 2021

Move for Melanoma is back!

This year, we’ll be joined by Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller and his wife Natalie to raise funds for melanoma skin cancer. 

Move for Melanoma is an activity challenge that takes place across Canada. The goal of the event is to bring awareness to melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma, while raising funds to support patients affected with these illnesses when they need it most.

This year, the event will take place on September 25-26th, 2021. As always, participants will be able to choose a physical challenge of their choice to complete on the weekend of the event. Participants will form teams and, together with their friends and family, try to reach their personal fundraising goals.

To facilitate the whole thing, again this year we will be using a custom website that allows people to register, donate, solicit donations, track progress and promote the event all in one place. The website also includes many resources for participants to help them get ready, and a Q&A page for more information.

If you’re interested in joining us, please visit Move for Melanoma 2021 and register now.

 

Save Your Skin Foundation is the only organization in Canada that supports skin cancer patients financially when they need it most. All the money raised through your donations goes directly to patients in the form of cab fares, treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment.

Whether you’re a survivor who wants to bring hope to newly diagnosed patients, the family member or friend of a patient who wants to send a powerful message of solidarity, or a patient who wants to help change the face of cancer for ever, we invite you to take a stand against melanoma and to move with us this September!

Hand in hand, we fight melanoma together!

          

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Huge Thanks to All Supporters of SYSF’s Giving Hope Gala 2021!

From all of us at Save Your Skin Foundation, heartfelt appreciation for all of the love we received in support of our 2021 Giving Hope Gala.  Thank you to all who purchased tickets, made donations, joined us at the event, sponsored the Gala, donated gifts to the auction – everyone! Not only did we have a blast partying on the dance floor, but we raised over $20,000 for melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients.

Thanks also to…

* The devoted and caring Oncologists, Dermatologists, Nurses, and Medical Teams who look after us and all of the Patients and Caregivers we support

* Our Sponsors and Funding Partners for supporting our work tonight and throughout the year

* JT and Natalie Miller for generously sharing their time and resources to help share our message at the Gala, in our press release, and beyond

* Everyone who helped put this event together – our amazing team – Marianne, SYSF Program and Event Coordinator, Amy, SYSF’s Marketing and Communications Director, Lise, our Quebec Consultant, Kathy and Rosemary, and our Board of Directors, family and friends who always pitch in

Last but not least we wish to thank:

The Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers who joined us at the Gala, or are behind the Foundation, from BC and all over Canada. They are the inspiration behind our devotion to their well-being, and we are honoured to work on their behalf every day.

Thanks to Everyone near and far for your Support!

 

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Giving Hope Gala Special Guest!

Hey our biggest Gala event is coming up…”Covid style”!

Buy a ticket and come for some fun – $35 gets you in.

This gala is all done on a virtual platform…wait, what does that mean? Well when you click the link to enter, you “spawn” a comic character that becomes you and you land in the main area where you are greeted by others. Your “person” walks with the others to the tables as the event starts out. Yes there is skin cancer info there but also…dancing!! mingling! and chatting. Get your person to walk up to another and you can chat with anyone, using your computer camera and ear buds! So great, so inventive!! Its going to be fun!! And… you will get to see one of our star personalities, Professor Mark Zee Spot!!

Join us for a fun, virtual gala experience in a custom world created just for us! We’ll use a new online chat platform that allows us to connect virtually and easily move in and out of conversations like you would in person.

Tickets are just $35!
Charitable donation receipts will be provided

All you need is a computer with wifi and video, some headphones, and a comfortable place to visit virtually!

 

 

 

Be ready for our Giving Hope Gala with the Save Your Skin Foundation Signature Cocktail (or Mocktail):

Tequila Stay-Out-of-the-Sun(Rise) !

The Giving Hope Gala is going virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a night to remember. In fact, to help everyone get ready, we’ve secured a guest presentation by STAR PERSONALITY 

World-Renowned Mixologist Professor Mark Zee Spot! 

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE JOINING THE GALA

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