Francais
info@saveyourskin.ca

Kathy Barnard

Webinar – Living with Cancer: Survivorship & Mental Wellness

Date/Time:  November 23, 2022 – 5pm-6:30 pm PT / 8pm-9:30 pm ET

This webinar will focus on the experience of cancer survivors and the importance of mental wellness from the perspective of four women with unique backgrounds and experiences in the cancer space. Shannon Gaudette, a melanoma stage 4 survivor, will talk about her physical and emotional wellbeing throughout her cancer experience. She will be followed by Antonella Scali, Executive Director of the Canadian Psoriasis Network and the daughter of a cancer survivor, who will talk about the results of a survey completed by All.Can Canada and implications for mental health and the need for psychosocial supports. Then, Kathy Barnard, president of the Save Your Skin Foundation and a melanoma stage 4 survivor, will talk about her experience as a long-time survivor. Finally, Lyanne Westie, SYSF wellness support consultant, will present on the importance of mental wellness in all aspects of life. These short presentations will be followed by a discussion between the four presenters, with time for questions from webinar attendees.

Register here

Presenters:

  • Kathy Barnard, President, SYSF, melanoma stage 4 survivor
  • Antonella Scali, MSW RSW, Executive Director, Canadian Psoriasis Network
  • Shannon Gaudette, melanoma stage 4 survivor
  • Lyanne Westie, SYSF wellness support consultant
Read more

#InItTogether Campaign – Melanoma Is Personal

We’ve teamed up with Hayley Wickenheiser again this year to bring awareness to those coping with a melanoma diagnosis.  Summer is here, but if you’re not protecting yourself from the sun, the damage can be far-reaching. Melanoma is one of the top 10 cancers diagnosed in Canada and getting a diagnosis can be scary. Arming yourself with the right information you can literally change the course of your melanoma experience.

Ask about your mutation type. Do your research to find out your options. And know you are not alone in this.

Some Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers from the Save Your Skin Foundation family have come together share their story to inspire education and hope.

“I am newly diagnosed with metastatic malignant melanoma, and I plan to survive it.” – SHERI

“My melanoma came back, but I’m not letting fear in.” – BOB

“I was in end-of-life care when my doctor recommended I take part in a clinical trial.” – MIKE

“Learning that my melanoma was BRAF+ was a huge weight off my shoulders. That knowledge shaped my path through the disease.” – COLIN

“Melanoma research literally saved my life. Today I’m surrounded with the support of the melanoma community and I know they have my back.” – NATALIE

Check out this article in Elle magazine, dedicated to Canadians who have their own personal melanoma stories: 

ELLE Canada – Summer is Back ~ Do you know what you need to know about melanoma?

Check out these “Melanoma is Personal” videos on YouTube   And click here to see more clips on the SYSF youTube channel

Read more

Happy Holidays from the SYSF Team!

From Save Your Skin Foundation’s Founder and President, Kathy Barnard, here is a message of thanks to all those who supported the Foundation this past year. SYSF’s team is so very grateful to all those who helped us as we continued offering the best support possible to melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients and caregivers, despite the unprecedented challenges we faced this year.

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year. With lots of love.

 

Read more

Cancelled: Join Team Save Your Skin at the BMO Vancouver International Marathon

CANCELLED

The 2020 BMO Vancouver Marathon has been cancelled due to increased COVID-19 concerns and the recent directive from the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer to ban all public gatherings that exceed 250 people.

For more information about the cancellation and how BMO Vancouver International Marathon plans to proceed, please visit: http://bmovanmarathon.ca/covid?fbclid=IwAR0rppmet7rhZK78NtSPVB-Bz4oikxm5dAnfYxla4jwNgYc2sBa4_X3m0Jk

***

This May 3rd, Team Save Your Skin will be running in the BMO Vancouver International Marathon.

Join Rosemary Westie, champion of Save Your Skin Foundation, and other team members in proudly donning the Team Save Your Skin jersey. Our colours and logo have become a symbol of hope for those fighting melanoma. Let’s make our presence known!

Join the team! 

 

The BMO Marathon offers several race lengths:

  • Marathon (42.2 km)
  • Half Marathon (21.1 km)
  • 8 km
  • Relay (Runner A – 12 km, Runner B – 12 km, Runner C – 5 km, Runner D – 13 km)

 

Don’t want to run but still want to support Team Save Your Skin? Wear our jersey while volunteering at the Marathon!

Learn more about the BMO Vancouver International Marathon here.

Rosemary’s  Story

My sister Kath was diagnosed with late stage melanoma back in 2003. Needless to say, it was shattering.  We were petrified that we would lose her, but miracles do happen, and although it has been an uphill battle she is still with us today.  Kath has always been an amazing person, very thoughtful, giving and strong, both mentally and physically.  It is these qualities that have kept her going through her battle with melanoma, and these same qualities that she now calls upon to help anyone else struggling with this form of cancer through the organization we founded together, Save Your Skin Foundation.

Every time I challenge myself to run for melanoma patients, I am humbled by people dealing with real challenges, challenges they did not choose.  So friends, at this time I am reaching out to ask you to join me in running to help spread awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers so that the ones you love never have to experience what Kath and our family went through.

For more information on joining Team Save Your Skin at the BMO Marathon, please contact Rosemary Westie at rwestie@shaw.ca.

Sign up now!

Read more

Team Save Your Skin Runs the Beaches of Normandy on D-Day 2019

Guest post by Rosemary Westie, ultra marathon runner and member of Team Save Your Skin, who is traveling to France in June 2019 to run the race of a lifetime. 

On June 6th, 1944 hundreds of thousands of soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the drive that would eventually break the German occupation of Europe.  Many of those soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I have been fortunate to wear my Save Your Skin Jersey in many amazing races around the world, but none more meaningful than the D-Day 44 Challenge I will be running this June 6th on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

This amazing race hugs the Normandy Coast line, and has us running over sand dunes and pebble beaches, through marsh lands and beautiful villages.  The race begins in Pointe Du Hoc, high on a cliff overlooking the English Channel where in 1944, 200 elite Rangers climbed the chalk cliff on a mission to find and destroy the large battery guns firing at the troops arriving on the beaches.  200 men began the climb, and 30 men survived.

From there we will run across the beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, all still scattered with memorials and reminders of the life changing battle that took place there so many years ago.  Ultimately, after running along the beautiful coastline we will finish our run at Pegasus Bridge.  It was within meters of here that Horsa Gliders were deployed in the evening of June 5th, to secure the bridge to aid in the landing force which would be arriving in the morning at Sword Beach.

It is fitting that the official finish line is just across the bridge, at the Café Gondree, the first house to be liberated in WW11.  Here, Ms Gondree, who inherited the café from her father and remembers the relief and joy they felt when the first British commandos knocked on their door, will be pouring champagne for all of the participants taking part in the D-Day44 Challenge.

On this day there are 2 events, the 44 mile run, which I will be participating in, and a 22 mile walk, which will stretch from Juno Beach to Pegasus Bridge.  I am really pleased that my husband Tom, a long time supporter of our Save Your Skin Foundation, will be taking on the 22 mile walk.

Tom and I have both been very lucky in our lives, surrounded by good family and friends, and more importantly good health.  Not everyone we know has been so fortunate.

When my sister Kath was diagnosed with late stage melanoma back in 2003, it was shattering.  We were petrified that we would lose her, but miracles do happen, and although it has been an uphill battle she is still with us today.  Kath has always been an amazing person, very thoughtful, giving and strong.  Strong mentally and physically.  It is these qualities that have kept her going through her battle with melanoma,  and these same qualities that she now calls upon to help anyone else struggling with this cruel form of cancer through our, Save Your Skin Foundation.

I understand that running 44 miles will be a challenge, but I am also humbled every single day by people dealing with real challenges, challenges they did not choose.  Like taking on a life threatening disease, or bravely running onto a beach, miles from home into enemy fire, sacrificing everything for the safety of others.

So friends, at this time I am reaching out to ask for a small donation. Through this event we are hoping to raise some money for our Save Your Skin Foundation, which provides emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma.

Click here to make a donation in honour of Rosemary’s Run

 

Also, in support of the organizers of this event, my family will be contributing to the Blesma Foundation.  Blesma, is an organization in Britain that supports veterans that have lost limbs, their eyesight, or are struggling with post traumatic disorder.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Rosemary Westie

 

 

Read more

National Post: Therapeutic Spotlight on Immuno-Oncology

On September 26, 2018, you may have seen a special insert in the paper version of the National Post across the country, featuring eight pages of informative articles about immunotherapy, an innovative treatment proving successful in several cancer indications.  This special content is the result of a collaboration between sponsoring funders, patient group representatives, and the folks at a group called Patient Diaries.  Over the years, Patient Diaries has coordinated several series such as this, raising awareness of various diseases and their effective treatments.                                                        This time they chose to highlight Immuno-Oncology.

Researchers and clinicians treating metastatic melanoma have been seeing success with these therapies for about ten years, but the growing use of and experimentation with them in recent years has been the topic of discussion at countless oncology conferences and treatment centres around the world.  In fact, just last month the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation: immunotherapy.

Save Your Skin Foundation openly discusses the need for access to these treatments by melanoma patients across Canada, and we jumped on the opportunity to be the primary patient group sponsor of this feature, sharing our collective patient experience with these therapies. On page six of the insert there was an article in which both Kathy Barnard and Natalie Richardson of Save Your Skin were interviewed.  We were also given half a page to display informative anecdotes about ourselves and raise awareness of our ongoing support of skin cancer patients.

In addition to the paper version of the Therapeutic Spotlight, a digital space has been placed on the National Post website.  SYSF awareness spots and our patient video from May 2018 can be seen throughout the Immuno-Oncology board – please feel free to take a look around.  There are additional informative articles about innovative treatments for lung cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer.

There is also a blog written by Natalie Richardson, melanoma survivor and Managing Director of SYSF, discussing the barriers to treatment access that many Canadian patients face.  Click here to read the blog: Cancer Patients Receive Unequal Treatment Depending on Stage or Postal Code

To see what else SYSF is talking about, click here to visit our MEDIA page!

Read more

Surviving Melanoma – Our New Video

Click here to watch our new patient-led awareness video:  Surviving Melanoma

Launched last week at our Giving Hope Gala in Toronto, this video portrays several melanoma survivor stories and their experiences within the community of support at Save Your Skin Foundation.

This film would not have been possible without the generous participation of a handful of melanoma patients and survivors, and for that we cannot thank them enough.

Click here to view on YouTube

Read more

Melanoma Patient Support Group Webinars

All patients, survivors, family members, and caregivers are invited to join these informal monthly webinars to connect with other patients and survivors across Canada.        Join one or all three:
Thurs, February 1, 2018
Thurs, March 1, 2018
Thurs, April 5, 2018

5pm PST | 8pm EST

We know the importance of having a good support network during difficult times. This is why we decided to organize a recurring support group by Webinar. Although melanoma patients and survivors are scattered all over Canada, these webinars will allow them to talk to others going through similar experiences from the comfort of their own home.  Founder Kathy Barnard will be in attendance, along with other members of the SYSF team. Whether you’re a patient or a caregiver, we hope that you will take part in this virtual discussion around melanoma, treatments, and hope.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Within 48 hours of registering for this webinar, you will receive an email from natalie@saveyourskin.ca providing you with the link and dial-in details for this group call in gotoMeeting. You will be able to choose if you wish to share your webcam with all participants, or participate in call-in mode only.

Thank you, and hope to chat with you soon!

Read more

The Save Your Skin Foundation Story – A Niece’s Perspective

You may have read the Save Your Skin Foundation’s story on the Foundation’s website 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!

Read more

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. This is serious!

mam

I still can’t believe how often I hear “it’s just skin cancer”. Although awareness of skin cancer has increased over the last five years, skin cancer and melanoma rates in Canada continue to rise. I continue to read posts on social media that say things like “in the sun too long today #skincancerhereicome”. In fact we just launched a campaign around this, which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/eZiBnB-B8-g

As a stage 4 melanoma survivor, I find these posts shocking and sad. Skin cancer is a serious disease and is the most common type of cancer. It is also one of the most preventable. Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In 2016 it is estimated that 1,050 people will die from melanoma.

As an outdoor athlete (I was a professional baseball player for many years), I was outside all the time – and I wasn’t aware of the risks of harmful UV rays. And I learnt my lesson the hard way. In 2003 I was diagnosed with melanoma and in 2005 I was given only six months to live. Fortunately, I gained access to a new treatment through a clinical trial that would end up saving my life. So this is my call out to other outdoor athletes, outdoor workers, outdoor enthusiasts – anyone enjoying the outdoors. Have fun in the sun – but make sure you’re the sun safely.

Prevention plays an essential role. Skin cancer is caused by overexposure of the skin to UV radiation. The most common sources of UV radiation on the skin are the sun and artificial tanning beds. Though skin cancer is preventable and often treatable if caught early, it remains the most common form of cancer in Canada. Save Your Skin Foundation will be posting daily sun safety tips throughout the month on its social media pages.

Early detection increases survival. Moles, spots and certain growths on the skin are usually harmless, but not always. That is why it is important to examine the skin all over your body once a month, and have a physician check your skin once a year.

Look for the following “ABCDE” warning signs:
Asymmetry: Do the two halves not match if you imagine drawing a line through the mole?
Borders: Are the edges uneven, scalloped or notched?
Colours: Is there a variety of shades (brown, red, white, blue or black)?
Diameter greater than 6mm: Is the mole the size of a pencil eraser or larger?
Evolution: Has there been a change in size, shape, colour, or height? Has a new symptom developed (such as bleeding, itching or crusting)?
If you detect any of these warning signs, see a physician promptly. It is particularly important for you to select a physician who specializes in skin cancer and is trained to recognize a melanoma at its earliest stage.

Lets start a new conversation around sun safety and prevention. It’s not just skin cancer. #NotJustSkinCancer

– Kathy Barnard, Stage IV Melanoma Survivor

Save Your Skin Foundation-Web Optimized-17

Read more