A 23-year-old has revealed how he was given just 12 months to live after he started using sunbeds to “fit in" with his friends. Jak Howell, from Swansea, had been visiting salons for six years, before he was given the tragic news last year.
Clare Oliver loved and embraced life. She was just 26 when she lost her battle with cancer, on 13 September 2007. When Clare was 23, she noticed a strange lump under her arm that was diagnosed as a Melanoma. This lump was cut out and her cancer scare made her even more determined to get on with her life. Clare travelled to Europe and went on to complete her second university degree.
But cancer came back and Clare took on the fight for her life. She reflected on the ‘why’ and made a connection with her use of solariums and sun exposure and her Melanoma. Clare was searching for perceived ideals of beauty and thought that a golden tan was necessary to attain that ideal. She, like so many other young people, used solariums in the belief that this was something akin to good health.
Clare became aware of the dangers of solarium use. She used her remaining time and energy to make certain that the rest of Australia heard and responded to that message. Skin protection from the sun and from rays is the message she shouted loud and clear. Melanoma awareness is the legacy Clare wanted to leave behind.
Throughout her campaign for Melanoma awareness, Clare touched the hearts of the community, and governments are now focusing more on this serious health issue. Professor Grant McArthur, a medical oncologist at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, was Clare’s doctor and the first to praise her courage and determination. ‘Clare has taught us all about the importance of speaking out. Her voice will make a difference.’
The Clare Oliver Melanoma Fund has merged with Melanoma Research Victoria’s donated funds. All past, present and future donations are dedicated to melanoma research and aim to increase the knowledge of melanoma by combining medical and laboratory research, to find better strategies to prevent, detect and treat melanoma.