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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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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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#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

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‘A Viking’s Challenge’ Completed

Hip hip hooray! Chris Isfeld and Shawn Bjornsson successfully completed their race: ‘A Viking’s Challenge’! The 30km race across frozen Lake Winnipeg took place on Saturday March 7, 2020.

Chris and Shawn’s adventure began when Chris was still in treatment for melanoma. He had started running again to overcome both the physical and emotional challenges he was experiencing and, one day, saw a photo of his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson. Shawn had just finished a race in -40°C weather. His cheeks were red and his moustache covered with frost. Chris had a sudden inspiration! He decided to challenge Shawn to race across Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s sixth-largest lake. True to their viking roots, they did not back down from the challenge. They began planning, training and fundraising.

The race, which began in Grand Beach and ended in Gimli, took place during the Gimli Ice Festival and attracted a large crowd of people who welcomed the pair at the finish line with cheers of encouragement.

“The weather was ideal, but the running conditions weren’t,” said Chris, recounting how he felt during the race. “There were large drifts of snow across the trail which made the running very hard going. It felt like we were running on sand.”

“But as soon as I saw the crowd gathered at the finish line, I forgot how hard the race had been. I felt an amazing new surge of energy.”

Chris’ story is an exceptional example of human resilience and courage. And like in many stories of melanoma survivorship, Chris had an ally by his side to support him along the way. Shawn Bjornsson has been an outstanding supporter, literally running beside Chris each step of the way on this recent challenge.

“There were times during the run when I thought we wouldn’t make it. Shawn’s encouragement was crucial,” recounted Chris.

Having completed this heroic challenge, Chris Isfeld plans to take some time to rest and spend time with his family.

“To be honest, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that it’s over. I feel so exhilarated! This was the hardest run I’ve ever done, and to be hearing stories of how it’s inspiring others to give back too is just an amazing feeling,” he said.

As of this writing, Chris has raised almost $20,000! The funds raised will go to Save Your Skin Foundation and the patients we help. You can still donate to Chris’ fundraising page here.

        

 

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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

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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!

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A Viking’s Challenge – March 2020

Melanoma patient Chris Isfeld is preparing for a 30 km race in subzero temperatures across frozen Lake Winnipeg. He’ll be racing his childhood friend Shawn Bjornsson to raise funds for Save Your Skin Foundation.

The event, which he’s calling A Vikings Challenge, will take place on March 7, 2020.

His Story

Chris Isfeld’s story with cancer starts in 2017. After dealing with back pain for a number of months, he felt sudden excruciating pain in his side. An ultrasound revealed lesions on his liver and large masses on his adrenals. A biopsy of the lesions confirmed  evidence of Melanoma. His scans revealed that the disease was very advanced and the tumor burden was severe.

Very quickly, the pain intensified. Chris had to go to the ER only a month after the biopsy. It was there he realized that he was partially paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors thought that his journey was coming to an end.

Chris was given lifesaving immunotherapy treatment just in time. The treatment was challenging but it proved to be effective. The cancer stopped growing and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months. Soon, he was walking again. By December 2018, just one year after his melanoma diagnosis, he was lacing up his running shoes again. 

The results of his latest PET/CT scan, on November 2, 2019, show an almost complete metabolic response; he is well on the way to becoming NED (No Evidence of Disease).

The Challenge

Chris had been frequently running and practicing yoga to overcome the physical and emotional anguish he was feeling.

In a recent interview with Global News, he said:

“A friend of mine, Shawn Bjornsson from Winnipeg, posted a photo after he did a 5K run in -40, and for some reason, I just made a comment and said, ‘Hey, I’ll race you across the lake,’ just as a joke, But a week later, I thought about it, and thought, ‘You know what, this is an absolutely great idea.’

“It gives me something to focus on, and obviously with my diagnosis, I had gotten to know the people at Save Your Skin Foundation very well, and decided that I should do it as a fundraiser and raise money for them.”

The Race

True to their Viking roots, neither of them can back down from a challenge. On March 7, 2020, the first ever ‘Ice Run Across Lake Winnipeg’ will take place. The race will be about 30 km from Grand Beach, Manitoba to Gimli, Manitoba. They will be running to raise money for Save Your Skin Foundation.

Chris is already a quarter of the way to his goal of raising $30,000 for Save Your Skin Foundation. To learn more about Chris’s story or to donate to his campaign, visit his fundraising page here.

For sponsorship info, please contact: chris.i@designerclosetguys.com

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Melanoma Awareness Month – May 2019

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

May is Melanoma Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time of year to review a few easy steps we can all take to Be Sun Safe!

Spread Awareness

Join us in spreading the word about Melanoma Month by using one of our facebook banners as your cover photo! They are available for download HERE:

Sun Safety

Help us share the message about Sun Safety! Download our Sun Safety infographics by clicking on the images below and share with your friends and family!

      

Examine Your Skin

Learn how to perform a monthly skin self-exam!  When caught early, skin cancer is very treatable.

Patient Support

For those living with melanoma, support can be vital to the healing process. Save Your Skin Foundation provides a collection of resources as well as several ways for patients to connect with others or with private support. If you know someone touched by melanoma, please help them to connect with us.

We provide one-on-one support through Founder Kathy Barnard. We also provide support from other patients and survivors through our initiative “I’m Living Proof”

Click HERE for a summary of the ways you can connect with other patients, survivors, and caregivers touched by melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and ocular melanoma.

Press Release

If you’re interested in what Save Your Skin is working on for Melanoma Awareness Month, check out our official press release, which includes vital information about melanoma rates in Canada, prevention and detection, and how to support those battling skin cancer.

Public Service Announcement

Click here to watch our new video cut about sun safety and skin cancer awareness:

 

 

Stay tuned for more updates throughout May – Melanoma Awareness Month!

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Introducing: Ocumel Canada

For the past year, Save Your Skin Foundation has been working with ocular melanoma (OM) survivor and advocate Nigel Deacon, to improve OM patient care across the country. Together we created a survey and resulting report in order to gain insight into the Canadian OM patient journey, and we have connected with innovative OM treatment researchers as well as explored testing options in Canada for ocular melanoma, also known as uveal melanoma. Additionally, we have partnered with OM patient support groups around the world, such as Cure OM (an initiative of the Melanoma Research Foundation, United States), and Ocumel Ireland and Ocumel UK.

We are inspired by the work being done by these groups, and by the feedback we receive from patients who need better support in their diagnoses of primary and/or metastatic ocular melanoma, to work toward better and more standardized care in all provinces in Canada. We have identified gaps in OM patient care which can vary from centre to centre, and we recognize the need to advocate for patients to receive treatment for their disease, especially when it is metastatic.

In order to continue this work and raise awareness for this rare disease and the patients who need support to handle it, we have created a dedicated initiative called Ocumel Canada, which will serve as our platform for increasing education and community around the topic.

Ocumel Canada strives to do the following:

  • Advocate for early detection of ocular melanoma
  • Enable access to early treatment of primary ocular melanoma
  • Work towards a consistent approach to treatment of metastatic ocular melanoma
  • Support patients who have been diagnosed with primary or metastatic ocular melanoma
  • Build a network of support for patients and caregivers

 

Ocumel Canada will work with health care providers and HTA decision-makers across Canada to improve ocular melanoma patient outcomes. We applaud the work being done at the two busiest centres for referrals, and we wish to help extend treatment options to patients in remote areas and to provinces who do not currently participate in the same practices available to OM patients in areas such as Toronto, Ontario. Advocacy for increased patient access to clinical trials, even if in other countries, is also an aim for Ocumel Canada.

Today we begin with a new hope for Canadians diagnosed with ocular melanoma.

Click here to read the press release: Launch of OCUMEL CANADA Offers New Hope for Canadians Diagnosed with Rare Ocular Melanoma

Stay tuned for updates on our progress!  And tune in Friday February 15, 2019 to our webinar Ocular Melanoma: Innovative Treatments and Beyond, with Dr. Butler of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dr. Hamid from The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. This webinar will provide an update on the landscape of metastatic ocular melanoma treatment in Canada and the United States. Dr. Hamid and Dr. Butler will share their knowledge of current practices and care pathways, identifying the most pressing needs for patients.  They will also discuss innovative treatment options such as IMCgp100, as well as clinical trials available to Canadian patients with ocular or uveal melanoma. Nigel Deacon will share his experience with this rare cancer; Kathy Barnard will facilitate the discussion.

For more information about ocular melanoma and the Ocumel Canada initiative, please feel free to explore the information we have put together for our website at www.ocumelcanada.ca , email ocumelcanada@saveyourskin.ca, or call us at 1-800-460-5832. 

We have created the following pages to provide up-to-date links and resources:

Ocumel Canada – About Ocular Melanoma

Ocumel Canada – Helpful Links

Ocumel Canada – Resources and Support

Ocumel Canada – 2018/2019 Strategic Plan

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsqaD2xgyf6/

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SYSF Teams up with La Roche-Posay Canada at OneWalk Toronto 2018

Last weekend I went for a 15 kilometre walk— as in, 15 kilometres all at once. Two short years ago I could not have done that, being in recovery from surgeries and treatment for advanced melanoma, I was not physically or psychologically capable of such a feat. This year however, I was grateful to walk 15 kilometres (in 3.25 hours!) alongside a team dedicated to raising funds for melanoma research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

I was motivated to join this team this past spring, when our new sponsor La Roche-Posay Canada told me they were doing the OneWalk Toronto 2018, and suggested perhaps I could join them as a representative of melanoma survivors and Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF).  I was thrilled but also anxious about this idea – could I really do it?

We each had a fund-raising goal and friendly instructions to meet at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto on Saturday September 8, 2018 at 7:30am. Being as I was a guest on the team I didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting, but I was there early enough to witness the hard-working team at La Roche-Posay (LRP) setting up, distributing sunscreen samples, and greeting walkers with encouraging smiles and high-fives.

I was thrilled to meet some of the folks I had been speaking or emailing with for months – it was so great to put faces with names. I had done events with LRP in the past, but this was a large local project in which SYSF and I both feel quite invested.

La Roche-Posay, with their sunscreen line, is a huge proponent of melanoma prevention, and the partnership we were demonstrating at the OneWalk was that of awareness and education. LRP is also a sponsor of the OneWalk Toronto event and were obviously enthusiastic about being able to bring awareness to sun safety and skin cancer prevention to all participants. They had a shade tent and sunscreen samples and tester bar, as well as their new “My UV Patch.”

My initiation into the team that morning was the presentation of my name tag and lanyard for the walk. I did not expect the rush of emotion when my new friend put my lanyard on me – it was a special coloured one, reserved for the cancer survivors of the crowd.

Not having participated in the OneWalk before, I was unexpectedly dazzled by the supportive community and encouragement to cancer patients and survivors at the event. Everyone everywhere was respectful of and very loving to those of us with the rainbow lanyards.

At one point during the opening ceremonies, the MC asked everyone with a rainbow lanyard to remain standing, and everyone else to kneel on one knee. Our team happened to be at the front near the stage, so when this happened I was glad I had my back to most of the hundreds of people in the square all around me – my tears were flowing at this point – I was so overwhelmed I almost got down on one knee too. I was incredibly humbled by the honour I felt by this moment of silence in cancer survivors’ memory and support.

Team LRP raised over $20 000 for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a decent portion of the total raised $4.7 million by 3200 walkers from all over Canada. I could clearly see why the event is so successful; it is very well organized, and cancer patient care is the obvious topic at hand. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre staff and supporters made speeches in the opening ceremonies, and a couple of the Research Team Leads also got up on stage to address the crowd. Overall, it was a fabulous representation of this centre, which happens to be one of the top five in the world for cancer care research and innovation.

Even one of our Medical Oncologist friends and SYSF Medical Advisory Board members from PMH was present – he had done the Friday evening NightWalk – but he came after lunch Saturday to meet with the La Roche-Posay team. I am thrilled to report I got a hug from him; I couldn’t stop more tears when he thanked me for participating in the event. It’s not very often I get to thank him in person for all that the HE does for melanoma patients like me.

I’d like to extend huge thanks to my new friends from Team La Roche-Posay Canada, not only for their warm welcome and hard work at OneWalk Toronto 2018, but also for their dedication to skin cancer prevention and awareness all year-round. I look forward to helping facilitate the initiatives Save Your Skin Foundation and La Roche-Posay will be working on together – stay tuned for updates!

Team LRP with Toronto Mayor John Tory

Team LRP at the Finish!

 

By Natalie Richardson,

Metastatic melanoma survivor and advocate, Managing Director, Save Your Skin Foundation

 

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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

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