What is your name?
Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words.
Busy mum, living-in-the-moment.
How did you discover your skin cancer/melanoma/skin condition and how long ago?
I arrived in Australia aged 13 after living in Europe for 10 years. When I arrived in Australia I didn't know anything about sun protection. I rarely wore a hat as a teenager and didn't understand the importance of sunscreen and other protective measures I should be taking whilst living in Sydney.
Over a decade ago, when I was 19 years old I went to the doctor after a birth mark on my scalp became itchy and sore. I was told that I had a basal cell carcinoma and needed an operation to remove it from my head. I had the operation and the recovery was very painful, but the specialist said that I was very lucky to have caught it early enough before it became more serious. After this experience I vowed to wear a hat on a daily basis. Fortunately, I haven't had any skin issues since then.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
My children and I wear hats all year long in Sydney. The exception being in July, the only month when the UV is consistently below 3. We check the UV levels for the day and plan our time outside to include hats, sunscreen, sunglasses and sun protective clothing when needed.
My overall aim with my children is to teach them that time in the beautiful outdoors is so important, whilst also learning to consciously protect their skin in the harsh and high UV Australian climate. My attitude today is that prevention is always going to be better than cure when it comes to protecting my family's skin.
I want my children to grow up thinking that wearing a hat and being conscious of the UV each day is a normal part of living in Australia. I want them to be able to keep their skin as sun damage-free as possible whilst still enjoying life to the fullest.
What would you tell your 16 year old self about sun protection?
Just because other people aren't wearing hats doesn't mean you shouldn't. Don't follow the crowd! Be informed! Protect your skin from the harsh climate you live in.
Thank you Elizabeth for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.