The sun may not be shining this weekend, but the Save Your Skin Foundation is still looking to make hay.
In the hopes of raising $50,000 to support skin cancer patients, teams are set to run, walk, dance, launch CrossFit workouts and even throw axes as part of Move for Melanoma.
“We asked people to get very creative,” said Kathy Barnard, founder and president of the not-for-profit North Vancouver-based Save Your Skin Foundation.
For her part, Barnard is set to fly to Montreal and bicycle 55 kilometres.
“I might survive melanoma and just die from trying to raise awareness of melanoma,” she says, laughing.
Barnard was diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma in 2003. After the cancer spread to her left lung, kidney, liver and adrenal gland, she was told she had six months to live. But after receiving treatment at a clinical trial, Barnard has been cancer-free since her last treatment in 2007, she notes.
The Move for Melanoma campaign has raised close to $40,000 thus far. All the money goes to help skin cancer patients, Barnard said, noting the costs of flying a Victoria woman to San Francisco for melanoma treatment every 21 days.
“Sometimes it even just goes to help them pay for parking at the hospital,” she said.
Earlier this summer, Barnard and friend Karen Wells unveiled a pilot project providing the public with free sunscreen by installing two automatic, touchless dispensers in Kelowna.
Barnard has also campaigned for greater access to immunotherapy drugs in Canada.
“It doesn’t work for everybody but it seems that for the patients it works for it’s nothing short of miraculous,” she said, citing her own story as an example of the upside of clinical trials.
The Move for Melanoma campaign, spearheaded by Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical company, is slated to raise money for Save Your Skin as well as a similar organization based in Ontario.
While she’s never cycled 55 kilometres before, Barnard, who made history as the first female coach in the Little League World Series, is confident.
“Point my bike in the direction,” she said. “I’ll just keep riding until somebody says: ‘You need to stop now.’”
The campaign closes Sept. 16.
For more information on Move for Melanoma or to register, visit saveyourskin.akaraisin.com/ui/moveformelanoma2019