We are happy to announce that Save Your Skin Foundation has partnered with the Ontario Professional Hairstylist Association to launch the Hair Heroes Challenge!
The Challenge calls on all hairstylists and hair schools across Canada to show off their skills and make a difference in the fight against skin cancer with Sty-Lives. This social media campaign in English and French aims to showcase just how simple and effortless skin cancer scalp checks can be.
Participating is easy, and participants have two options:
Options 1: Shoot a captivating video (60 seconds or less) where they demonstrate their hairstyling prowess while performing a skin cancer check on their client.
Option 2: Capture the transformation with a before and after photo of their client’s hair, following a thorough check or styling session.
We had the pleasure of being interviewed by OPHA about the Challenge. Watch the video to learn more.
Want to participate? Don’t forget to include our official hashtags, #HairHeroes & #Sty-lives2023, mention Sty-Lives, and let your imagination run wild! The SYSF team will be on the lookout for the most imaginative video that not only promotes Sty-Lives, but also showcases the importance of skin cancer checks. You’ll stand a chance to win an amazing prize that will leave you jumping for joy! So, grab those scissors, unleash your imagination, and get ready to win big with Sty-Lives!
Louise Binder from SYSF co-authored an excellent and insightful publication titled “A New Framework for Co-Creating Telehealth for Cancer Care with the Patient Community” published in The Patient – Patient-Centered Outcomes Research. Check it out here.
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 diseases when they need it most.
This year, the event will take place on September 22-24th, 2023. 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.
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!
This year, we’re taking our monthly patient support chats in a new direction!
Our monthly chats are attended by a small standing group of core hosts, including SYSF Founder Kathy Barnard and fellow survivors, who take turns leading the group in a themed topic each month, allowing plenty of time for questions and discussion.
This month’s theme:
This month we’ll be celebrating survivorship and sharing stories of triumph. During this Fireside Chat we’re talking about celebrating cancer survivorship in honour of National Cancer Survivors Day in June with host Rob Stauffer who’s a melanoma survivor from Alberta, Canada.
Come learn and share with other patients and caregivers.
As part of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’re hosting a Virtual Trivia Night to celebrate and bring together patients, caregivers, health care providers, and advocates.
This event is an opportunity for us to come together, have some fun, and celebrate our shared dedication to the fight against skin cancer, melanoma, and ocular melanoma. It’s a chance to connect with others in the community, put your knowledge to the test, and win some great prizes.
Register as an individual. We will assign the teams, but will keep family/friends together as much as possible. Single players welcome! Tickets are $10 per person.
The Trivia Night will take place virtually on Zoom. It will be hosted by SYSF staff and will include 8 rounds on different topics and will require participation from each registrant. The host will ask questions to each team alternately and teams will be given a bit of time to discuss before submitting their final answer.
In November 2021, I was told for the second time that I had cancer. This is not something one gets used to hearing, and at that moment I felt like another bomb went off in my life and my husband’s.
This diagnoses was followed by a series of tests that started from the end of November up to the 2021 holiday season. The reason for this was to gain an understanding of this possible recurrence all these years later.
Over 17 years ago, I had a beauty mark on my back that itched like a mosquito bite, which I thought was odd. That was back when tanning salons were a trend and I would visit them several times a week to do something about my “milky white” complexion. At this time, I felt I needed those sessions to look more “healthy”. I even had a membership at a local tanning salon! One day, just before settling in for a session, I discussed my beauty mark with the owner who urged me to get it checked out, which I did a few weeks later.
In creating KRABĒO, I find myself with peace of mind. Peace of mind for myself, my family and for you.
I was 24 when it first happened and honestly, I felt I was above it until a lymph node surfaced in September 2021. It was then that I noticed a small lump in my right groin that many doctors thought was harmless, but I had a feeling that it was not benign.
I had to persist with the healthcare system to go further and do more tests in order to find out what was wrong. When you have a feeling that something is wrong, you need to advocate for yourself & ask questions. In my case, I was indeed wrong. The doctors discovered after an ultrasound that it was melanoma. This was quite a shock & a return to square one.
I hesitated to tell my story when all of this happened, even to my kids, but I would come to understand the importance of sharing one’s life experiences. No matter if it’s good or bad because doing so can help others.
My story may be your story too! It made me realize the great lack of resources and knowledge about this disease and how to adequately protect myself from the sun. It’s because of what I went through that I decided to help the people around me and the population by developing a line of UV-protective beachwear. Our beachwear is certified and recognized by the highest world standards of sun protection and it covers 98% of UVA and UVB rays. KRABĒO was born from this desire and is made entirely made in Quebec with love. Now, whenever I see my clothing worn by people from all walks of life, including children, my heart swells at the idea that I was able to do my part in the fight against this preventable cancer that has cases increasing with each passing year.
In creating KRABĒO, I find myself with peace of mind. Peace of mind for myself, my family and for you.
At KRABĒO, we believe that the sun, the water and the beach are together a source of well-being. To take full advantage of it all, one thing is essential: sun protection. We love to enjoy the sun. The benefits it brings to our lives are of course impossible to ignore. We tend, however, to forget the risks related to UV rays.
We can’t say it enough: ultraviolet rays from the sun lead to premature ageing, the appearance of skin blemishes, as well as skin cancer, which represents a full third of the most widespread cancers in the world.
For us, skin protection in all of its aspects lies at the very centre of every one of our decisions; indeed, it is our guiding principle.
Our laboratory-tested fabrics are certified UPF 50+ and block 98% of UVA and UVB rays, without any toxic products involved, neither for the skin nor for the planet.
They have been carefully chosen to meet two criteria: protecting our skin and preserving the oceans.
KRABĒO has generously offered a special 10% discount to all Save Your Skin Foundation newsletter subscribers. The code will be available in our May newsletter so hurry up and subscribe if you haven’t already!
KRABĒO is committed to helping others. That’s why the KRABĒO community lends its hand to those suffering from skin cancer by supporting the Save Your Skin Foundation and donating a portion of its profits to the cause!
MorrisonRowe is an EVERYday sun protection clothing company based in Calgary, Alberta. MorrisonRowe was founded by long-time friends Cara and Tegan after Cara was diagnosed with multiple basal cell carcinomas. Her dermatologist recommended that she cover up as much as possible and wear sun protective clothing when outside. She found lots of options for the beach or sport specific activities but struggled to find casual, everyday UPF 50+ clothing. She didn’t want to look or feel like she was headed to the beach while she was out for daily activities such as going to the park with her kids, walking the dog, or sitting on a patio with friends.
Cara and Tegan could not ignore this HUGE gap in the market and the need for casual everyday UPF 50+ sun protection clothing. What started as a need, turned into a business idea and Cara and Tegan embarked on the journey to launch their own UPF 50+ sun protection clothing brand.
Prior to starting MorrisonRowe Cara worked as a registered nurse in surgical oncology and Tegan a professional engineer. Neither had any previous fashion industry experience so it was quite a journey to build the brand from scratch.
Our mission is to make sun protection clothing part of your everyday wardrobe so you can grab something from your closet and know that no matter where the day takes you, sun protection is there. We have combined timeless style and everyday comfort with UPF 50+ protection so you don’t have to choose between looking great, feeling good, and protecting your skin.
Cara and Tegan
Cara and Tegan had some guiding principles for the brand; they wanted all of their clothes to be rated UPF 50+, they wanted to be a Canadian brand, and they wanted their clothes to be sustainably sourced and ethically made.
In terms of the actual clothing, Cara and Tegan had specific design concepts and fabric preferences. To them “everyday” means clothes that are timeless, casual and relaxed. Something that you will reach for any and EVERY day. For the fabrics, Cara and Tegan wanted natural fiber fabrics like Tencel™, hemp, and organic cotton because they offer superior breathability, feel great on your skin, and their production is generally more sustainable. This fabric preference is a definite departure from most available UPF 50+ clothing.
Finding fabrics proved to be one of the biggest challenges on the journey to launching MorrisonRowe. (Other than the pandemic and raising young children of course). Cara and Tegan searched tirelessly to find sustainable and ethically made, natural and recycled fabrics that were UPF 50+. Most fabric manufacturers Cara and Tegan contacted had minimal or no experience with UPF testing and rating, especially when it came to using natural fiber fabrics.
They knew that natural fiber fabrics with UPF 50+ ratings existed but sourcing them proved to be a challenge. They quickly learned that if they wanted to use natural fiber fabrics they would have to send them for testing and rating themselves. Fabrics were chosen based on what Cara and Tegan wanted in terms of how they feel, the composition, the garment design, and sustainability and then sent for basic UPF testing. If the result came back below UPF 50, Cara and Tegan were back to square one. This happened a few times before they found the right fabrics.
All MorrisonRowe fabrics are independently third party tested and rated at a lab in Quebec according to industry standards (ASTM D6544 and AATCC 183) to ensure every colour is UPF 50+. MorrisonRowe fabrics are all free of any chemical treatments to make them UPF 50+. Rather, the natural characteristics of the fibers, the structure of the fabric, and the colour is what makes the fabric UPF 50+.
All MorrisonRowe clothes are designed and manufactured in Canada. Cara and Tegan have worked with a local Calgary designer, Ereau Designs, from the beginning. And manufactured solely in Calgary until recently moving manufacturing to Vancouver. They have styles for women, men, and children and are continuing to expand their catalogue.
MorrisonRowe has generously offered a special 10% discount to all Save Your Skin Foundation newsletter subscribers. The code will be available in our May newsletter so hurry up and subscribe if you haven’t already!
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 to raise funds and awareness wherever they were.
Last year, life threw 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.
Finally, this year, Chris is aiming to be back on the lake with his friend Shawn, despite the ongoing treatments and side-effects that come with fighting a dangerous cancer. Chris is again showing amazing fearlessness and grit by challenging himself both physically and mentally. By joining A Viking’s Challenge 2023 and pledging to run or walk, you 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 AVC medal. If you’d like a special ‘A Viking’s Challenge’ t-shirt or other merchandise, please visit our Etsy store to make a purchase. Make sure to place your order soon if you want your t-shirt in time for the event!
To learn more about Chris’s story and the inaugural event, click here.
A Message from Chris
“When a successful treatment suddenly stops working, you can’t help but panic, especially when the only other options are clinical trials or major surgeries.“
This year has been challenging, with plenty of bumps along the way. In July 2022, I got accepted into a promising trial run by a leading melanoma oncologist out of Princess Margaret’s Cancer Clinical Research Unit in Toronto. The trial required participants to have two or more active tumours so one could be surgically harvested and sent to a lab in the U.S. where they rapidly reproduce tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). The surgery was challenging due to previous radiation treatments. Unfortunately, the trial was unsuccessful and the lab was unable to produce the cancer-fighting lymphocytes.
I want everyone to know that my spirits are still high and I’m far from throwing in the towel. I’ll be participating in a 4th edition of A Viking’s Challenge this March 4th on Lake Winnipeg and challenge everyone else to lace up and get active to support the Save Your Skin Foundation. I plan on being in Gimli for the weekend, but you can participate anywhere and in any way. I haven’t run since before my surgery and have no idea what I am capable of with my surgery-related hernia, but I promise to give it my all!
When: March 4-5, 2023 Where: Anywhere in Canada. Chris and Shawn will be running in Gimli, MB, the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland. How: To participate, you must firstregister hereand 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.
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.
A tremendous THANK YOU to all of our incredibly dedicated participants and generous donors!
74 participants and 20 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.
After the success of last year, we once again set ourselves an ambitious goal of raising $75,000. With your help, we ended up surpassing our goal once again this year!
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 three fundraising teams that raised the most this year.
Based in Victoria, BC, Team Captain Nigel Deacon ran a marathon distance to inspire others to donate to this worthy cause. Together with his fellow team members Martin Dawes and Linda Sendall, they raised an incredible $11,760 for ocular melanoma patients.
Based in Chilliwack, BC, Ani Davidson and her sisters challenged themselves to complete a combined 10,000 minutes of fitness between them in the month of September – and they crushed that goal, completing 11,820 minutes! Ani is currently undergoing treatment for melanoma.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Team Mela-No-More raised funds in honour of Laura, whom they lost after a long and courageous fight. Laura was a beautiful and strong woman, wife and mother. The team raised almost $5,370
OUR 2022 SUNSCREEN DISPENSER PILOT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED!
Save Your Skin Foundation partnered with medical student siblings Samuel and Karen Farag, and the municipalities of Summerside, PEI, Riverview, NB, New Westminster, BC, and Brooks, AB – as well as BC Cancer – to launch 10 dispensers in early August 2022.
The dispensers are automatic and touchless, and provide free, Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen for anyone who needs it. The sunscreen is zinc oxide based, free from chemical sunscreen filters, common allergens and toxic ingredients including oxybenzone, avobenzone, retinyl palminate, PEG, parfume, and sodium lauryl sulphate. See image below for more details.
Here are the locations of the dispensers as of August, 2022:
New Westminster, BC
Moody Outdoor Pool
Hume Outdoor Pool
Grimston Park Wading Pool
City Parks Works Yard to support City staff working in the outdoors
Summerside Turf Field
One mobile dispenser to be used for festivals and public events
Behind the gazebo on the Riverfront Trail
Duke of Sutherland Park and Splash Pad
Applying sunscreen is part of an overall sun-safe way to enjoy the outdoors. First, limit your time in the direct sunlight, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat. Use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or after swimming.
Affixed to the Dispensers is a list of the sunscreen ingredients and reference to Health Canada’s approval of the sunscreen, as well as a disclaimer with respect to the use of the Dispenser or the sunscreen contained therein:
THE SUNSCREEN IS BEING USED AT YOUR OWN RISK. None of Save Your Skin Foundation, (participating cities), nor anyone else connected to these organizations, makes any assurances, representations, guarantees or warranties with respect to the use or effectiveness of the sunscreen or dispenser, and any and all use of the sunscreen or dispenser is done at your own risk. By using the sunscreen or the dispenser, you acknowledge and agree that none of Save Your Skin Foundation, (participating cities and organizations to be listed) nor anyone else connected to these organizations are responsible for the results or consequences from any use of the sunscreen or dispenser.