Wearside group MelanomaMe is making inroads in the fight against skin cancer

A campaigning group from Wearside has helped to diagnose 10 cases of skin cancer in less than two years.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 9:28 am
MelanomaMe joint founders Elaine Taylor, left, and Kerry Rafferty.
MelanomaMe joint founders Elaine Taylor, left, and Kerry Rafferty.

The Washington-based MelanomaMe was only launched in June 2017.

But already, tens of thousands of people across the North East have been made aware of the condition and ten cases of skin cancer have been spotted thanks to a focus on early detection..

Now the group is in the running for a Best of Wearside Award and one of the founders - Kerry Rafferty who fought melanoma herself in 2015 - said it would “mean everything” to win a trophy.

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Kerry founded MelanomaMe with her friend Elaine Taylor and it has worked within schools in Sunderland and County Durham to deliver and raise awareness.

It has also spread the message to workplaces thanks to a pilot scheme which has stretched from Hartlepool to Northumberland.

MelanomaMe also offers a counselling and support service for anyone effected by a person’s melanoma or skin cancer diagnosis.

The organisation, which is currently a non-profit community interest company and about to become a charity, is helping to save lives.

Kerry said: “Melanoma caught in its earliest stages has around 98%, 5 year survival rate, as opposed to approximately 10% at stage 4.”

She added: “Winning an award would mean everything. It would help us to reach out because, at the moment, the only people who access the services would find us on Facebook or will have been referred through the hospital.

“A lot of families are not getting support. Without support, it is a lonely place.”

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

Information about melanoma can also be found through http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/melanoma/understanding-cancer

The cause becomes the latest entry in an ever-growing list of nominations for the awards.

This year’s Best of Wearside Awards has backing from headline sponsor BGL Group, partner sponsor Gentoo and category sponsors Stagecoach and Calsonic Kansei.

We thank them all for getting on board, and now comes your turn to get involved.

Send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into. Also, send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known). Send all of that to Lynn Wild before March 1.

You can nominate in one of three ways:

• Email entries to [email protected]

• Post them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.

• Visit the website at www.bestofwearside.co.uk

Once we pass the competition deadline, the panel of judges will meet days later to draw up this year’s shortlist of contenders.

Those who are still in the running will learn their fate at the glittering grand finale on Thursday, March 28.

That will be held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

After the event, we’ll bring you a supplement with photographs and interviews from the night.

But for now, the main thing is to get those entries in!

The categories

Local Hero.

Green Champion.

Student of the Year.

Fundraiser of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year.

Sporting Achievement.

Community Group.

Community Champion.

Child of Achievement.

Child of Courage.