The summer of 2004/2005 had been a great one, I had just got married, had completed my first year as a commercial lawyer, was rolling into my 6th year as a member of the Silver Fern Netball Team and we had just added a new puppy and Burmese cat to our brand spanking new family home. However, the blissful summer came to a complete halt when a mole my husband, former All Black and Black Cap Jeff Wilson, noticed on my arm was removed and confirmed to be a malignant melanoma.
Up until that point, I had been a sun worshipper. A good tan was something I strived for year round. Lying on sunbeds during winter was the norm to ensure I was not ‘pasty white’ in my netball dress, as was baking myself in the sun during summer days. In fact, on the day, I had my melanoma removed, I am embarrassed to say, my back was peeling as I had been spraying weeds on the farm in my bikini top and got burnt.
“It is fair to say my relationship with the sun has changed dramatically since that day. Sunscreen, shade, sunglasses and good old common sense in the sun has replaced sunbathing and sunbeds.”
We are an active family, all with fair skin, blue eyes and fair hair. We love being outside and thrash our pool and the beach over summer. We do not hide from the sun, we respect it and are responsible when in it.
Melanoma New Zealand is dear to my heart, not only do they support those who have been diagnosed with melanoma, with expert knowledge and medical science, they also ensure people are educated about the risks we Kiwis face from our unforgiving sun. There are no scare tactics, just good honest practical advice. New Zealanders are an active lot and it is so important that we do not shy away from being outdoors.
Melanoma New Zealand is a brilliant charity doing a truckload of fantastic work in the community, backed up with extremely passionate people driven to reduce the incidences of unfortunately a far too common cancer, melanoma.