On Sunday the 24th of March, Ed and I were lucky enough to be asked along to the 2019 Melanoma March by dear friend and inspiration, Kathy Gardiner, or as she is otherwise known, The Naked Gardiner (insta and facebook, check her out). The reason why I say Ed and I were lucky enough to join Team Naked is not because we had nothing else to do on a lazy and very sweaty Sunday afternoon, but because Kathy is alive and thriving beyond her terminal prognosis in 2014, and that is a huge reason to celebrate! Although Kathy is 3 years clear of her disease, she and many other people know all to well the psychological toll that enduring such a life changing illness takes on not only the person suffering, but also on their families, friends and loved ones.
I have been able to witness first hand the outcomes that amazing treatments can have for patients like Kathy, but the sad reality is that this is not the case for many other people who fall victim to melanoma. Kathy’s story is quite simply a miracle. I know this for sure, because I was a witness to just how many other families, friends and children were attending the march on Sunday in memory of someone that they had lost too soon.
Kathy had the following to say about why she wanted to wear TradeMutt for team ‘The Naked Gardiners’:
This year I have chosen to not only support the Melanoma Institute Australia but also throw my support behind incredible friends who have been doing unbelievable work in the space of mental health and suicide prevention, they are my mates over at TradeMutt, who with their bright, fabulous and stand-out trades shirts are truly starting conversations and breaking down the barriers that come hand-in-hand with mental health. I believe their work, their shirts and their mission align with anyone facing melanoma - we can embrace everything they are trying to achieve through their messaging because we can all understand that with cancer comes huge burden, anxiety, fear and often social isolation. Tough times surround us daily. While melanoma rates are hugely prevalent in young females, like myself, they are equally prevalent amongst men, especially those that work outdoors. The trade shirts while fun and fabulous also serve as a protective clothing means and are UPF 50+, providing that much needed physical barrier from our harsh Australian sun. Embroidered on the pocket are the letters YNWA, which stand for You'll Never Walk Alone. The Melanoma March unites, it brings us all together and there is no better saying that we as a collective body can relate to. As someone who has lost close friends to this disease and understands the loneliness and grief that comes with cancer for both the patient and the carer, this tribute is a fitting one.
As Tradies, we spend so much time working outside under the hot sun. The message in this week’s blog is a simple one. We can take preventative measures, right now, that can save us from a whole lot of stress and hardship further down the track. Make an appointment and go and get your skin checked. Go to your GP, get a referral to see a dermatologist or go to any number of skin check centres that are everywhere. Just make an appointment and go!
I’m not sure if Kathy actually does any gardening in the nude, but I’m sure if she did, she would be covered head to toe in sunscreen and be wearing a wide brim hat and sunnies. To find out more about Kathy and what she’s up to now, visit her website www.thenakedgardiner.com