save your skin

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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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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Updating the ABCDE’s of Skin Checks

We have long known that monthly skin self-examination is an important piece of a vigilant routine for a healthy life.  Everyone should check their own skin – and that of their loved ones – for any irregularities or atypical markings, lumps or bumps.  Early detection is key, and can make all the difference in the case of any melanoma OR non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis.

At the World Congress of Melanoma last fall, we learned that there are two new letters in the traditional ABCDE’s of skin checking: F and G

F for Firmis the mole harder than the surrounding skin?

G for Growingis the mole gradually getting larger? 

As the alphabet of skin-checking grows, so does our awareness of the importance of the following:


A – Asymmetry. The shape of one half does not match the other half.

B – Border that is irregular. The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.

C – Color that is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.

D – Diameter. There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than 6 millimeters wide (about 1/4 inch wide).

E – Evolving. The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.

F – Firm

G – Growing

Save Your Skin Foundation has developed new post-card style brochures to share this information, which remind us of these helpful tips that could save the skin we’re in.  Check out the images below or on our downloadable resources page, and if you would like to receive some of these cards for your awareness or educational event, please contact and we will send you some!

In the meantime, check your skin – all over! – and ask your doctor about any concerns you may have.


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February Conference Recap: Canadian Melanoma Conference and ASCO SITC

As February comes to a close, we’d like to look back on the conferences we attended this month: the Canadian Melanoma Conference and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Orlando, Florida!

Here is a sample of our social media from these conferences!

Canadian Melanoma Conference


ASCO Florida



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Save Your Skin and Giving Tuesday

On November 29th, Giving Tuesday is coming to Canada! A compliment to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day that stimulates the community instead of the economy by facilitating donation to thousands of charities across Canada.
There are many charities worth donating to on Giving Tuesday, and we always encourage helping your community by donating. If you are considering donating to the Save Your Skin Foundation, we thank you– and would like to fill you in a little bit on what we’re up to, and how your money would be used.
First and foremost, the money donated to the Save Your Skin Foundation goes to melanoma patients. The primary goal of SYSF is supporting families during the worst time of their lives; therefore we want the cancer patient and their family to be able to focus on the fight against melanoma, by alleviating the financial strain of cancer treatment. Whenever possible, we offer monetary assistance for transportation, accommodation, and food costs to melanoma patients travelling for trial treatments. Emotional support is equally a priority– Save Your Skin Founder Kathy Barnard is approachable for advice and support from someone who has been through the melanoma journey. Kathy Barnard’s knowledge of the treatment landscape and connections with Oncologists, Dermatologists, and other medical professionals is often helpful to patients who are unsure of how to navigate the medical system, such as finding treatment options and preparing for appointments. We also strive to make our websites Save Your Skin and I’m Living Proof hopeful, informative, and supportive, as the internet is often a discouraging place to look for those fighting melanoma.
The Save Your Skin Foundation represents the patient voice on the national and international level with its presence at conferences and meetings in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Nationally, Save Your Skin regularly meets with government stakeholders, pharmaceutical companies, and medical professionals to bridge the gap between these groups and the melanoma patient. Medical knowledge is further imbued to the patient via our educational YouTube video series, and our Webinars. These webinars feature a wide range of topics and guests, from medical professionals to melanoma survivors, and live recordings of past webinars are available on our website. Further, in 2017, Save Your Skin intends to develop an immuno-oncology network for medical professionals, advocacy groups, and the melanoma patient to further assist the patient in navigating immuno-oncological treatments, a recent and exciting development in the melanoma landscape.
Due to these incredible advances in medical technology and trial treatments in the past decade, we are pleased to report that melanoma survivorship is at an all-time high. From this new group of melanoma survivors, we are learning that the fight with melanoma doesn’t end at remission. Save Your Skin has taken several steps to be supportive of melanoma survivors, including the I’m Living Proof initiative, which allows melanoma survivors to tell their stories and connect with each other, and melanoma patients; we often include survivors in webinars and forums we are involved in hosting; and in 2017, we are intending to launch our Melanoma Survivorship Pilot Project, which will include national media campaigns, a survivorship e-book, a survivor survey and report, and a microsite. We also intend to host a survivorship meeting in the Spring of 2017, to ascertain how the needs of survivors are being met and what improvements could be made.
We’re looking forward to Giving Tuesday, and hope you will consider the Save Your Skin Foundation when you are selecting the charities to whom you will donate. If donating is financially a stretch, you can still participate by volunteering for Giving Tuesday, and tweeting with the hashtag #givingtuesday to spread the word! Thank you for reading, and happy giving!

Donate to Save Your Skin via Giving Tuesday here

GivingTuesday Countdown

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Shoutout to Slyde Handboards for Their Generosity!

Blog re-posted from the Slyde Handboard Website, October 22 2016



Carlos our team rider from Canada recently completed a 365 day watermen challenge. In which he wave rode every day for 365 day without fail.

The challenge in effort to raise awareness and education for skin cancer.  The most common type of cancer, and one dear to Carlos’s heart as his father Marcel passed away from the disease.

Slyde alongside Raw Elements USA honored Carlos’s epic effort and his father by auctioning off an autographed Mark Cunningham Handboard & natural sunscreen package, with all proceeds going to Save Your Skin Foundation of Canada.

The auction saw a ton of action with the winning bid of $280 going to South African native Clint Buckham.

Thank you Clint for your generous donation, and everyone who participated.


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Why Save Your Skin Foundation?

Written by Natalie Richardson


This has been the most exciting few weeks I have had since I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. I feel an optimism unusual for my character since finding a potentially deadly mole on my hip in April 2014, when my world came crashing down with fear and worry. After surgeries and immunotherapy treatments, my body and my mind were left confused and full of dread.

I remember the exact moment I embarked on the path that would eventually lead me back into a productive life, with hope and determination as my new leads. Though I did not know it at the time, my discovery of Save Your Skin Foundation was a saving grace.

Depressed by internet searches about this disease, I relied solely on the word of my oncologists to guide decision-making in my care. Thankfully, I was fortunate to have an excellent medical team with a finger on the pulse of current treatments and clinical trials. My family and I did seek second – and third – opinions at Centres in Ontario, and I felt as secure as I could possibly be, choosing the course of my treatments with their guidance, via clinical trial.

By randomized-draw chance I received the treatment that I may always credit with saving my life, and I am grateful for that. But to this day I ponder what may have happened had I been on the other side of that trial draw. It bothers me, keeps that fear lingering. Not only fear for myself, but for others who may face the same risks that I have, and may not receive the same care. What if someday, my children were to face this diagnosis and did not have access to treatment?

In researching this question, I came upon a website with a warm first impression and a vastly informative set of links and options. I clicked and read and explored, not once feeling intimidated. I had to know more… the moment was right, and I had stumbled upon the right place: Save Your Skin Foundation.

I called the number, immediately reaching Kathy Barnard, melanoma Survivor, and Founder of this Foundation. Her distinctive voice put me at ease, and we talked about my situation and how fearful and alone I felt. She told me of her experiences with treatments, and I shared mine. She knew my medical oncologist as well as many others across the country, and she told me about new therapies on their way toward fighting melanoma skin cancer.

She determinedly said “You’re going to be okay.” And I believed her. I felt she might be right. She had run the gamut and come out the other side, and she understood what I was talking about.

My loving friends and family had been telling me that I would be all right, but when Kathy said it, it was different. My loved ones wanted it to be all right, but Kathy knew that there was actually a possibility that it WOULD be.

I have since learned that it is this determination and experience that has led Kathy and her family to build an educated team, in the form of a Foundation, to help others in this way. Many patients are touched by the support of this group; many lives are saved.

Emotionally and physically, Save Your Skin Foundation is there for any and every Canadian touched by skin cancer, whether it be a pre-cancerous lesion or a diagnosis of advanced metastasis. They share their experience, they research every medical detail, they work every day to help those in need of support in a skin cancer battle.

Since that day I first spoke with Kathy, I felt safe. I was comfortable looking around her website, watching the webinars and reading the notes carefully assembled. It remains a safe and reliable source of information about every stage of skin cancer.

Having gravitated to it for a year and a half, I have been dedicated to helping Save Your Skin save MY skin! And that of others. We network, collaborate, and identify with each other in a way that perhaps only those in our shoes can understand. It is a community of support available to those who need it.

It is at their invitation that I have had the inspiration to share my story so openly, encouraged in campaigns such as #NotJustSkinCancer and the Melanoma Through My Lens Reflection
Project. They have been a huge part of my rehabilitation, right down to the gentle reminders that I CAN still do the things I feared I had lost after diagnosis.

I feel great responsibility in being able to represent Save Your Skin in these kinds of projects, and at the same time I feel equal duty to represent fellow melanoma warriors, patients, families, and friends travelling their own skin cancer journey.

It’s the least I can do, in return for this gift of support and hope that I have been given. Thank you, Save Your Skin Foundation.


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A Thank You from Melanoma Caregiver


Written by Connie, wife and caregiver to her husband and melanoma patient, Ted.

A year ago my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma with metastases to the lungs.  Our world suddenly and drastically changed where fear and worry took over our days.  In a whirlwind of appointments and consultations it became apparent that there would be numerous tests, scans, followup appointments and overnight trips that would take us to a specialized oncologist.  Of course there was the chemotherapy as well.  Once things became somewhat routine like, if I may be brave to say so, of just becoming a new norm the other part of life began to take over.  Suddenly, I became the main income earner for my family along with caregiver alongside being a mother.  How were we going to get through this?  Or, how was I going to get use to looking at my husband daily crying inside with the thought of losing him to this dreadful disease?  Living in a very rural and remote area I had no options for caregiver support, I had no family support and so I stood alone in my rollercoaster emotions trying to be strong and positive for my husband.  Then one day I came across the Save Your Skin Foundation and met 2 incredible people, Karran Finlay and Kathy Barnard.  These 2 people reached out to me from a distance, listened to me and in doing so I began to feel hope and renewed strength.  I suddenly felt that maybe I wasn’t alone and I continue now to feel this way as I know in my heart that they are there and will continue to be so as the journey of fighting cancer continues with my husband.

Right now there is not a lot I can do to give back to this incredible Foundation and these 2 beautiful, compassionate women, but I can write this to say THANK YOU!   To say that without them, I as a caregiver would be totally lost and in despair.  To say THANK YOU for not ignoring me, for listening everytime I email or phone, for never being too busy to open your hearts!  THANK YOU!

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Biosim•Exchange: A Resource for Staying Updated about Biosimilars!

While not yet a frequently heard term in melanoma treatment, biologic medications are making their way from arthritis to other chronic illnesses, including cancers. Biologics are medications that are created from living organisms, such as bacteria or yeast, as opposed to chemicals. The second iterations of these products are biosimilars; the closest imitations to the first products possible, though the chemical compositions of the first cannot be exactly duplicated.

Like other medications, biosimilars in Canada require chemical equivalence trials before being put on the market. These trials include a comparison of the mechanism of action, rate of administration, dosage form, and strength of the original medication and the biosimilar. This is to ensure that there will be no difference in the safety or efficacy between the two medications.

As biosimilars are most often developed for the treatment of arthritis, the Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) are leaders in the biosimilar field. Since 2009, the ACE has been working with advocacy groups, patients, healthcare, and government stakeholders to support the development of a medication approval and reimbursement access regime. Recently, ACE launched the Biosim•Exchange website. Biosim•Exchange is an information hub for consumers to learn about biosimilars, stay up-to-date on biosimilar news, and background analysis of biosimilars currently on the market. Having this information helps patients participate in forming their treatment plan, and encourages collaboration between patients and their medical team.

Biosimilars are a rapidly developing option for the treatment of chronic illnesses. To stay on top of advancements in this field, check out Biosim•Exchange!

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Save Your Skin Weekly Flashback! [September 12-18]

Welcome to the Save Your Skin Foundation media flashback- your weekly guide to the melanoma landscape, and the activities of the Save Your Skin Foundation! This week, we’re excited to announce our new educational video series, which we hope will answer your questions about a variety of skin cancer issues! There are already some videos up there, so be sure to check it out.

We’re also busy getting prepared for our upcoming public forum on October 6 in Nanaimo, B.C., hosted by Dermatologist Gabrielle Weichert, and melanoma survivors Nigel Deacon and Meloney Edgehill! More information can be found on the poster below.



Here are some links we shared with you this week:

-This piece on immunotherapy in the Ottawa Citizen

-A link to the Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast

-A summary of our roundtable discussion about whether early detection and prevention in primary care can benefit patient outcomes

-This article on Entertainment Tonight Canada about Khloe Kardashian’s skin cancer scare!

-This piece on My Toba warning about the particular skin cancer risks for those over 50 years of age

-This article in the Ottawa Citizen about the hunt for immunotherapy funding

-And this lovely photo of two Save Your Skin Team members, Rose and Marion, who recently raced in Oregon wearing SYSF jerseys! Way to go, team!



Thank you for reading, and stay sun safe out there!

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