Wednesday, April 9, 2008

December 2010 – Another Very Successful Year for SunSafe in Cornwall.

And it's all thanks to the tremendous hard work of our coordinator, Caroline Macrae. Working within the bureaucracy of the NHS is not without frustration, and the future of the whole project is now facing great uncertainty – but Macca keeps smiling!

MAP has been busy importing "magic beads" and our bracelets are proving a very successful way of helping us to raise awareness. The secret is a special pigment in the plastic which reacts (and changes colour) when exposed to the invisible energy of the sun – Ultra-Violet light.

We all need sunshine, but we do need to be careful – these beads are a constant reminder of the invisible UV rays that can burn our skin and damage our eyes. Sun burn can cause melanoma.

With these beads we can test the effectiveness of our sunglasses, of our protective clothing and of our sunscreen. They are a marvellous teaching aid and many schools are now encouraging their pupils to make simple bracelets. We are now purchasing beads from America and China in order to supply schools and other organisations with raw materials at cost price.

We can now supply :
UV reacting beads @ 3p each
Simple coloured beads for decoration @ 1 p each
Elastic @ 13p per metre

Materials to enable a class of 30 young people to make their own bracelets (each with 6 UV beads and 2 coloured beads) would cost £7.00. (Ready made class packs can be supplied)

We can also supply ready made bracelets (as pictured above) for £2.00 each.

Please contact us if you can sell bracelets on our behalf. We continue to work together with The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund try to find a way to fully understand the complexity of this terrible form of cancer.

Orders for class packs and ready made bracelets can be made via and an invoice will be enclosed with delivery. Copies of our DVD are still available free of charge.

For other professional UV jewellery we suggest looking at

Melanoma Awareness Project

Melanoma is on the increase, particularly in Devon and Cornwall.

It is estimated that;
8000 new cases will be diagnosed this year

2000 people in Britain will die

85% of melanomas could be caused by sun burn

Cases are rising very rapidly, particularly within 15-34 year olds where melanoma is the most common form of cancer.

With your help, many lives can be saved.

The aim of this project is simple. We need to increase public awareness of the danger when we burn our bodies with too much sun. We need to encourage people to look for the early stages of skin cancer and to seek medical help. If caught in the early stages, melanoma can be totally cured. If left too late, it is one of the most lethal forms of cancer. It will kill.

Becca's Story
Becca Kaye died in May 2007 at the age of 35 from metastatic melanoma. She had suffered a single bout of sunburn in her teenage years, whilst wind surfing. Several years later she had noticed a mole on her thigh changing appearance and eventually it was removed. At that time she was working in Cornwall as co-director of Small Scale Theatre Company. Five years ago she began teaching at Lewannick Primary School.

In June 2005 she suffered a seizure, was found to have two brain tumours and was given just months to live. She fought on for almost two years.

Her family and friends wanted to carry her energy forward and various projects were established. One of these we have called the Melanoma Awareness Project, and you are reading it now.

Donna Goddard (now Kilpin) was Becca's partner in the Small Scale Theatre company, and their highly original shows toured throughout the country. These shows were full of music and laughter.

Donna has directed the making of a series of films - now presented on a single DVD - in memory of her best friend.


Play Safe

The children of Lewannick school share their memories of "Miss Kaye". They show how they take care of themselves in the sun. A film designed for primary children and their parents. (10 mins)

Skin Sense

Animation by the creative team at M-Mad Productions. This is designed for young adults and sun worshippers! (8 mins)


Medical background provided by Dr Tom Lucke (Dermatology Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital) and Jo Pope (Macmillan Nurse - specialist in skin cancer). Useful for all professionals. (9 mins)

Our Audience: The Whole of the South West

A simple aim! And we need your help. Let's start with all young people and begin to change life styles. Melanoma can only be cured if it is spotted early - and removed. It could be prevented by avoiding sun burn. We all just need to take more care. Please let us know if you would like copies of our DVD. Please pass on this message to other organisations, groups and individuals.

And Now beyond:
Following the launch of the DVD and very positive and sensitive coverage by West Country television, Radio Cornwall, Pirate FM and our local press - over 3000 copies have now been distributed. Our message is now in every school and college in Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

Quite an achievement within a month of our launch. Distribution to schools has been through The Healthy Schools Teams in each county - and we are very grateful for this help. Our initial target was Cornwall, then we expanded to cover the whole of the SW Region, and now we can offer copies of the DVD to any area of the country.

Almost all children go on holiday - and put themselves at risk of burning their skin. Please contact us if you could put this free resource to good use. It could so easily save lives.

Initial reactions:
We are receiving some very positive comments from the schools who have already watched the films. The children of Becca's class at Lewannick school can feel justly proud of the message they are telling. Children listen to children - this has to be good! And if you would like your own school to get involved with filming then contact our film makers 'm-mad' (Multi Media Arts Documentation) in Launceston.

A note about funding:
The initial costs involved with producing this film have been met by a very generous group of Becca's friends - 'Becca's Angels'. Further distribution is now being supported by The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. This is an amazing charity devoted to funding research and arousing awareness of Melanoma, one of the 'diseases of the 21st century'.

You - or your family - may like to make a donation to this charity which is now providing the funding for our proposed Man and Van Mobile Melanoma Unit

Information Sheet

Obviously, the main message is DO NOT GET SUN BURN!

If you do suffer from sun burn, remember that melanoma can take many years to appear. In this film (DVD available on request) moles appear on Mel and Oma very rapidly. In reality it could be a long time before melanoma decides to grow. We all need to keep a look out for changes to our skin - throughout our lives.

Usually, but not always, the first sign of melanoma growing can be spotted by changes to moles on our skin. A useful guide is the "A, B, C, D" reminder:

A. Asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes - such as with two very different-looking halves.

B. Borders which are irregular. Moles which have notched or scalloped borders.

C. Colour changes. Look for growths which have many colours or an uneven distribution of colour.

D. Diameter. Look for new growth in any large mole (over 1/4" or 6mm).

Other suspicious changes in a mole may include:

Changes in texture - for example becoming hard or lumpy
Spreading of pigment from the mole into the surrounding skin
Oozing or bleeding

If any of the above changes are noticed then get the mole checked by your doctor. If melanomas are caught in the early stages they are removed (simply) and there is no further problem. Delay at this stage can prove fatal. When melanoma takes hold and begins to spread there is no cure at present.

And a note about SUN CREAM!

We are being told to protect our skin by splashing on loads of Factor 40!

High factor sun cream may help - but there is a danger. We may think that because we are using lots of cream that it is safe to stay out on the beach. Not a good move! The best bet is still to cover up - or search out the shade in the middle of the day.

There is even some new research which suggests that some sun screens may actually contain ingredients that can increase skin sensitivity. Caertain ingredients, like parabens, have already been banned in Scandanavia. Other ingredients, like oxybenzone are feminising fish off the coast of California.

These chemicals, once in the body, mimic the action of oestrogen - which many scientists now believe to fuel many types of cancer. Psoralen is yet another chemical known to promote cancer - and is still used as a tanning agent. There are more natural sun screens on the market - and it may be wise to search these out.

And yet avoiding sunlight can make you more vulnerable to other forms of cancer!

By exposing our bodies to sunlight throughout the year (in short daily bursts) we build up Vitamin D - which reduces the risk of breast, colon, prostate and many other cancers. Common sense suggests easing into sun exposure in small doses - and keeping our immune systems as high as we can. Vitamins A, E and C all seem to play a role in protecting our bodies against Ultra-Violet rays.

So use the sun wisely! It can be very good for you! But take care!

Sun is good - but burning your skin is dangerous. And please don't rely on sun screens alone!

And one further point - beware the Sun Bed! The younger you are - the more dangerous these can be!

"Play safe" and use "Skin Sense"