Tributes paid by Sunderland support group after ‘courageous’ campaigner’s death from skin cancer

Tragic Amanda Seymour.
Tragic Amanda Seymour.

Organisers of a support group dedicated to fighting skin cancer have paid tribute to a woman who campaigned on their behalf up until shortly before her death.

Mum-of-two Amanda Seymour died at the age of 42 earlier this year after battling the illness on and off for more than six years.

MelanomaMe co-founder Kerry Rafferty, centre, melanoma survivor Helen Gregg, left, and Kazim Gregg

MelanomaMe co-founder Kerry Rafferty, centre, melanoma survivor Helen Gregg, left, and Kazim Gregg

Amanda - who feared she may have contracted the disease through overusing sunbeds in her 20s - spent her final months backing the efforts of new Sunderland-based counselling service MelanomaMe.

Her support included telling her story in graphic detail to educate others and booking a table for a black-tie event to raise funds for the group’s work.

She unfortunately died before it took place although family and friends still attended to hear touching tributes to her “strength, bravery and selflessness”.

Close friend Kerry Forster told the guests: “Amanda was delighted that there was a service on her doorstep that supported people with melanoma and raised awareness.

Friends and family of Amanda Seymour at the black-tie event.

Friends and family of Amanda Seymour at the black-tie event.

“On the lead up to the event she continued to raise awareness of melanoma by sharing her story and has undoubtedly saved so many lives because of this.”

Amanda, from Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, died in August after the illness spread to her brain.

An account manager at chartered surveyor firm e.surv, she is survived by her husband, Vincent, and children Annabel, 12, and Joseph, 11.

The event itself was described as a “huge success” co-founder and joint managing director Kerry Rafferty, who fought melanoma herself in 2015, and raised £1,500 towards the group’s work.

Nearly 90 per cent of skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to ultra-violet light and so MelanomaMe’s team of 10 staff are dedicated to offering counselling, support and holistic therapy throughout the North East.

Their work includes presenting advice workshops to leading employers across the reigon such as HMRC, BT and Barclays.

MelanomaMe, co-founded by Elaine Taylor, has offices in the SES Co-op Centre, in Whitehouse Road, Hendon, which are open from Mondays-Fridays between 9am-5pm.

It also offers advice within Washington’s Victoria Road health practice.

Further information is available by telephoning (0191) 5111391 or (07799) 130078.

More details about the organisation can also be found via www.melanoma-me.org.uk, by searching for MelanomaMe on Facebook and on Twitter via @MelanomaMe17.

*Amanda’s story in her own words will appear in full in the Echo shortly.