by Muskaan Sachdeva
THUNDER BAY – LIVING – On Sunday, September 23rd, 2018, over 40 walkers and volunteers in Thunder Bay registered for the first 5 Km Strides for Melanoma Walk for Awareness that was held at Marina Park. Muskaan Sachdeva, the Regional Walk Coordinator, explained that “It was thrilling to see the passion in individuals who attended the walk. Despite the cold weather, we were able to successfully complete our 5K walk to raise awareness about Melanoma —the deadliest form of skin cancer.”
It is estimated that 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and it is one of the most common cancers among youth aged 15-29. Yet, it is also one of the most preventable cancers —but only if individuals practice proactive, early prevention tactics. Being a medical student at University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Muskaan Sachdeva understands the importance of skin cancer screening programs, “During 2017-2018, I interacted with many patients affected with Melanoma and I was able to first hand listen to their stories. This left a lasting impact on my mind and made me realize the need for organizing the first Strides for Melanoma in Thunder Bay.”
The walk received tremendous support from Caribou, Boston Pizza, Pizza Hut and Bruno Contracting. Through registration fees and donations, Thunder Bay raised over $1,500 which will be used for melanoma patient support programs, prevention efforts and increased awareness. The walkers enjoyed Tai Chi led by the Instructor, Peng You before beginning their 5K Strides.
One of the walkers, Mrs. Ursula MacDonald said, “I was very pleased to be able to participate in Strides for Melanoma. Melanoma affects so many people every year including my own family. I am hoping that events like this put a spotlight on the disease and people take the appropriate precautions before it is too late. Thank you to Muskaan for bringing this event to Thunder Bay.”
Since this was the 1st year, Muskaan hopes to continue coordinating the Strides for Melanoma Walk for Awareness and aims to involve more walkers, volunteers, and donors in the upcoming years. “It is unfortunate that we don’t have a certified dermatologist practicing full time in Thunder Bay. Hopefully, through this walk, we will be able to raise awareness about the importance of protecting against harmful UV rays from the sun and artificial sources as well as checking your skin regularly.”