We strive to empower everyone to easily stay safe in the sun with providing the knowledge they need to prevent skin cancer, skin aging, and sunburn.
Take a moment and think of the people you love most in this world, the ones you spend your time with.
Now imagine their faces.
Can you see them?
You think you have all the time in the world to surf and swim with your mates, to go on dates with your husband or wife, to raise a family, to watch your grandson’s rugby match… then you get the call, and your time is cut short.
We’re often dulled by the numbers of skin cancer. Though we’ve heard the importance of slip, slop, slap, and that two of every three Australians will have skin cancer, it doesn’t become real until it happens to us or to someone we love. Until it threatens the time we have left with our loved ones.
Here are the faces of some of our friends. They’re also the faces of skin cancer. They are why we do what we do. They remind us that this problem is real, and that it can, and needs, to be fixed. And that there is a way to prevent the majority of skin cancer.
Our friends are sharing their stories to give you more time with your loved ones. They’re sharing their stories in the hope that you won’t have your own to tell.
Blair, now retired, is the captain and coach of a dragon boat racing team, the Maroochydore Sea Serpents. He grew up on the Sunshine Coast, spending much of his time as a Surf Life Saver.
Blair told us that sunscreen simply wasn’t available when he was growing up. He recalled stories about enduring blistering sunburns after a weekend in the sun, then going right back out the next weekend, only to get another. This went on week after week. When sunscreen hit shelves, Blair regarded it as a miracle, but unfortunately his damage was done. Since his mid-thirties, Blair’s had skin checks and skin cancers removed every 6 months. Four melanomas and more than 30 non-melanoma skin cancers have left scars all over his face, arms, shoulders, and legs. Blair is a fighter and a survivor. On the water, he can still out-paddle those more than half his age, despite now being in his seventies.
Blair’s children, grandkids, and Queensland’s best paddlers need him around a bit longer. Blair is a face of skin cancer.
Cheryl is a multi-gold medalist for Australia in dragon boat racing. She recently qualified to represent Australia again on the Auroras team in their next world championships. Despite Cheryl’s active outdoor lifestyle, her skin cancer story isn’t about herself. Instead, her story starts with her father, Tod.
A decorated military pilot, Tod was a flight sergeant in the RAF, and he trained as a Wireless Air Gunner in Winnipeg. During a doctor visit, Tod’s doctor pointed out a mole and asked him if he’d like to remove it. Since it didn’t look cancerous at the time, Tod opted to keep his mole, not knowing that this decision would alter his life forever. After headaches resulted in hospital visits, doctors noticed that the same mole had changed. It was now a very aggressive melanoma. Even though it was swiftly removed, the damage was done. Sadly, Tod passed away within 6 months of the melanoma being removed.
After seeing her dad for the last time, Cheryl drove home from the hospital with her husband, Bob. An all-too-familiar set of symptoms were affecting Bob, who had such a severe headache that he had to pull over. That same week, Bob was in the hospital too. A melanoma that’d been removed two years before had returned with no remorse. Just six months later, Bob also passed away.
Cheryl needed her father and husband around a bit longer. She lost them within in a six-month span—both to melanoma. Cheryl is a face of skin cancer.
Gina grew up on the Sunshine Coast as a self-described “beach bunny.” However, she wasn’t the type to lay around in seek of a perfect tan, Instead, she spent her time outside swimming and sailing with friends and family.
Gina has a degree in biomedical science, and her dad is a radiologist—someone you wouldn’t expect to have a melanoma go unnoticed. Unfortunately, her melanoma was hidden under her hair, found only when a small lump made brushing her hair difficult. Gina found herself, at 20 years old, with a melanoma diagnosis.
Her prognosis was great—her melanoma would be removed, and she’d be in the 95% with no recurring cancer. But Gina ended up as one of the rare 5% whose cancer spread. It began in the lymph nodes in her head and has now spread to her lungs. Three years after her diagnosis, Gina’s melanoma is not responding to treatment. She’s currently receiving radiation therapy to her head and chest.
Gina is a hero and warrior, taking down melanoma one step at a time. She’s fighting not only for awareness and funding of melanoma research, but also for her own survival. She’s raised over $90,000 AUD toward melanoma research, despite cutting-edge drugs not working for her. Gina hopes that research outcomes will provide future benefit to others who find themselves where she is today. You can support Gina’s mission here: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/miracles-for-melanoma.
The world needs Gina’s upbeat attitude, bravery, adventurous spirit, and kindness a bit longer. Gina is a face of skin cancer.
Marley Brown is the CEO of Brisbane start-up Conpago. A lifelong, avid fisherman, he grew up on the beach in Byron Bay and spent most of his time on the water.
When he was just 11, Marley had his first skin cancer removed. Since then, he’s had regular skin checks, resulting in the removal of more moles to date. Marley’s the kind of guy who always makes you laugh and is a true blue legend at the bar. In our interview with Marley, we asked him if he’d ever done a shoe-y (i.e. chug a beer from your shoe), to which he laughed and said that he’s done a “shoe-y, a thong-y and a fin-y” (snorkel fin).
Marley’s family and friends need his high spirit and laughter a bit longer. Marley is a face of skin cancer.
Sam Sheehan is the Managing Director for Suncayr’s Australian and Asian operations. Sam grew up in Clermont in central Queensland. He spent his summers at the dam water skiing, swimming, fishing, and motorbike riding. He’s never been the type to sit inside and play a computer game.
Recently, when finishing up with his GP, Sam’s doctor asked if he had any other concerns. Sam pointed out a mole on his arm. Three days later, he had his first non-melanoma skin cancer cut out. When we showed Sam’s friends and family the video of his interview, they immediately had the same reaction; it was one of few occasions where they heard Sam sending a serious message. They found it hard to believe they were watching the same lighthearted Sam, who’s known for his jokes and ability to bring laughter to any room. But by pioneering sun safety in Australia with Suncayr, he wants to prevent you from becoming the next face of skin cancer.
We need Sam’s humour and wit a bit longer. Sam is a face of skin cancer.
Samantha (call her Sam) is a content & marketing entrepreneur at Swanwick Sleep. She’s on a mission to help people who have trouble sleeping by keeping their sleep schedules on track through avoiding blue light. Sam grew up about 16 hours from Brisbane in the centre of Australia, in Lightning Ridge, NSW. She had no electricity or television, and, like most country kids, played outside in the sun all day, every day.
Sam was affected by cancer when she was only 9 years old. Unfortunately, this is less rare than you may think; melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in youths. Sam’s mom was very lucky to catch it early, and her doctor removed the melanoma. She’s been fortunate to not have skin cancer return, though she has to be diligent about checking her skin often. The prognosis of pediatric melanoma is generally promising, and we’re lucky that Sam’s with us today. You’ll catch her designing clothing in her spare time or hanging with her cat, Scout. She’s one of the friendliest people you’ll meet, and will ensure that you’re never alone in a room full of crowded people.
We need Sam’s creativity and warm, welcoming nature a bit longer. Samantha is a face of skin cancer.
Tamra is the proud mother to three daughters, including her youngest, Emma, who was a humanitarian worker in East Timor. While on a break from her mission, Emma took a day off to go scuba diving. Emma’s dive instructor noticed an irregular mole on her shoulder. She flew back to Australia and had the mole removed. The mole ended up being melanoma, but Emma and her family were optimistic. She was only 21 years old, the melanoma was caught early, and it wasn’t deep in her skin. The chances of her mole causing problems in the future were only 5%. But sadly, that’s not where this story ends.
It wasn’t long until Emma’s melanoma spread to her liver, and then on to her pancreas, lungs, adrenal glands, and her spine. Emma was 22 years old. Her cancer was terminal and she was given three months to live.
Despite her diagnosis, Emma never had a regret. She never pondered, “Why me?” Instead, she stared cancer directly in the face. Emma wanted to show the world what it was like to live with stage 4 melanoma. So, she began her blog, Dear Melanoma. Through Dear Melanoma, Emma documented the highs, lows, and the almost-three years that she battled melanoma. She bravely raised funds and spread awareness about melanoma and melanoma research. Emma was determined to not just be a number, grouped in with the 2,000 Australians that die each year from melanoma.
While immunotherapy treatment prolonged her life, Emma slowly stopped responding to treatments. She lost her battle with melanoma at the young age of 25. Her parents, Tamra and Leon, want to spread Emma’s story, so that you don’t have one like it. To learn more about Emma, please visit her blog or watch this touching documentary on her life.
Emma says in her blog, “All I can hope for is time. Time spent with my husband, puppy, family, friends, and YOU.” Tamra needed more time with her cheerful, bright, and courageous daughter. Tamra is a face of skin cancer.
In 2014, three University of Waterloo engineers found passion in preventing a type of cancer that directly affects their friends and family. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world and almost 100% preventable. When sunscreen is used properly, skin cancer can be prevented. Unfortunately, people still use less than 50% of the sunscreen needed to avoid a sunburn.
Today, our technology has won over 50 awards including a Dyson Award, grants from Johnson & Johnson, and Buffalo's 43North prize. Our team consists of chemists, engineers, and marketing specialists based in Canada, USA, and Australia driven to simplify sun safety for all.