Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#NotJustSkinCancer - Campaign Launch - - this is the video I've been talking about!

In December I participated in the video filming of interviews of a select group of patients recovering from melanoma... melanoma Survivors, melanoma Warriors... I hesitate to label the rabble bunch we could otherwise appear to be.  ;-)  From Melanoma Network of Canada and Save Your Skin Foundation, along with the PR group coordinating this collaboration, we voluntarily gathered for a day of sharing and camaraderie.

We spent a day in Toronto, at a chic converted school building in an art studio and an upstairs studio, talking and filming, discussing and sharing.  
We had at least two things in common: a chance at recovery from a life-threatening disease; and a desire to talk about it.

I have been hinting about it since then, but have been bound by a confidentiality contract, NO talkie-talkie!  Patiently (NOT) waiting for the day of the launch, a busy day for all involved (social media campaigns as they tend to be)  

I have been preparing an article or two for other venues as well, eager to share my story of melanoma diagnosis and survival, either for proof that it (survival) can happen these days, or as a message of friendship and support to anyone who may be diagnosed in the future.  

Melanoma treatment has come a long way in the last couple of years, and there are many physicians and advocacy groups working to preserve that effort. One of which happens to be Save Your Skin Foundation, in Vancouver BC, with whom I first connected last year at the peak of my fear and dread of the disease from which I thought I might never recover.  

Save Your Skin Foundation was there for me when all else failed; busy Kathy (and everyone else on her team who I emailed) are always available, in email response and by phone, and I was able to physically meet them this year in Toronto.  I am happy to spend my recovery time collaborating with them to promote melanoma awareness.  

I want to share my story, my experience with metastatic melanoma, in order to show camaraderie with other "Mela-Homies (to quote my Melahomie from The Hotel Melanoma)" in our conversation about what is POSSIBLE.  Statistics haven't been favourable for folks in my position over the last few decades, but now that advances in medicine are taking us past an immediate death sentence by melanoma, there are more of us around to talk about it.

Equal and timely access for melanoma treatment is the goal of many patients and advocacy groups, based on the frightening experience of melanoma patients in past.  We are beginning to receive treatments more effective than those in the past, and we are grateful for it.  But I digress...

The video launches today.  In fact it was first shown (clips) on CanadaAM this morning.  CANADA AM!!  I'm not sure that those of us in that white Toronto room filming in December thought that this might be the outcome, but for myself at least I can attest that the emotion I feel for the project is worth the public fanfare.

Susan was in this video as well, and she joined Annette Cyr from Melanoma Network of Canada on Canada AM early this morning to discuss the campaign and skin cancer in general.  
Sue said everything I would have wanted to say - fantastic job!! In fact Cass was watching with Scott and I and she kept saying "Mom - She's saying everything you say!"  "You always say that!"
Great job Sue and Annette!

This is a topic that deserves attention! And I am happy to use myself as example as to why it deserves attention.  I will talk about it until I am blue in the face, because it is NOT JUST SKIN CANCER.

This campaign is in specific response to the complacency in social media today about sun safety (or the lack thereof) and the use of "hashtags" accompanying photos of sunburns and comments about sun over-exposure... such hashtags as "#SkinCancerIDontCare" and "#SkinCancerHereICome."  

I gather that most of these comments are borne out of ignorance of the true risk of extended exposure to UV radiation from time in the sun or from other sources such as indoor tanning equipment.  

I will share this story for days and weeks to come I'm sure, but the point of this campaign is that we wish to promote a new and far more productive hashtag: #NotJustSkinCancer.  

It is not JUST skin cancer... it IS skin cancer!

If you have not already seen it, please feel free to check out the video here, #NotJustSkinCancer - a collaborative project of Save Your Skin Foundation and Melanoma Network of Canada:

I commend the team involved, they were stellar, start to finish, in my experience.  From conception to execution, including coordination and communication, this was a first-class operation.  I could not think of any better company with which to share this message.  

Thank you Save Your Skin Foundation, Melanoma Network of Canada, Roche Canada, the Edelman folks, and of course my physicians for keeping me alive long enough to talk about the topic!  Thank you and Merci.  Speak to you soon!

Aside... I wish that Claire and Cassie could have come with me the day of filming. If it was "take your kid to work day" I would want them to spend the day with me working on a (any!) project with this team.  There are so many opportunities for youth on such a day: sound, camera, art direction, project management... if my girls were to grow up to be like any of the young people I witnessed that day, I would be immeasurably proud.

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