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A Year in Review

As the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close, we at MNC reflect on how we responded to the challenges that faced our organization, and the patients and caregiver community we serve. MNC is proud of all we have done and continue to do to improve melanoma and skin cancer patient outcomes.  

ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION 

This year, MNC submitted input on behalf of our community to show support for a new advanced or metastatic melanoma targeted drug therapy combination (binimetinib and ecorafenib) , and a new basal cell carcinoma treatment for advanced or metastatic disease (cemiplimab) –  ensuring new and improved options become available to our community in a timely manner. Additionally MNC launched and actively promoted our MDBriefcase accredited course Improving Patient Outcomes by Optimizing Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Management. This course, a first in Canada for melanoma and skin cancer, was developed with the goal of educating front line health care providers in triaging skin lesions more accurately and at an earlier stage, with a focus on recognizing suspicious skin lesions and selecting which biopsy to use based on physical characteristics of the lesion. Over 1,500 clinicians will have taken our course by the end of 2021, helping to improve outcomes for thousands of patients across the country.  

MNC also created new educational resources for patients. We developed a new digital resource for Canadians with skin-of-colour, to dispel myths and inform on the danger skin cancer poses to the community. We also created new sub-websites for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), which account for over 80,000 cases in Canada annually, as well as new downloadable guide on BCC to ensure patients have access to the most up to date information on the disease, staging, and treatment types. This guide will also be available in print and shipped to patients and healthcare centres across Canada free of charge in early 2022.

MNC also re-launched our SCREENME SUN AWARE Camp Program to ensure camp directors and staff going back to summer camps across the country had access to sun safety knowledge and policies to keep our youth safe. 

AWARENESS AND FUNDRAISING 

MNC continued to drive awareness on the importance of sun safety to protect against melanoma and skin cancer. With our Sun Safety Council Partners, MNC was back in action during Melanoma Awareness Month (May) with our 3 Ways to Block the Rays campaign. Our YouTube video received thousands of views and our media campaign garnered over 19 million impressions on TV, Radio, and across digital platforms.  

With your help, MNC had an incredibly successful Strides for Melanoma virtual event. Over 630 participants fundraised nearly $300,000! The event even garnered attention from the Charity Village Awards, and is named a finalist for Best Fundraising Campaign (under 20 staff). During the summer months, we were also the charity partner of several automotive events including, the Yorkville Exotic Car ShowSessanta Miglia, and Motors N’ Music which collectively raised over $40,000 and helped promote the importance of sun safety to a new audience of car enthusiasts. To top off an already incredibly busy year, MNC launched a fun new golf tournament, Golf & Grill! Held in September, this new event raised over $75,000 for our patient programs and helped raise our profile, with the help of famous chefs like Ted Reader and Massimo Capra to name a few.   

SUPPORT 

MNC is honoured to continue to be a trusted resource for emotional and psychosocial support as patients and caregivers navigate their skin cancer journey. This year MNC launched a new Caregiver Support Group to respond to the isolation caregivers faced during the pandemic. The pandemic posed an incredible challenge, with caregivers feeling trapped with nowhere to turn and often unable to be with their loved one during treatment. MNC launched this group to provide an outlet and safe space to express frustrations and seek guidance from others in a similar circumstance.  

MNC continued to host Patient Information Sessions virtually. Five English and one french session will have taken place by the close of 2021 on a variety of topics including Grief and Cancer, Uveal MelanomaMelanoma – What You Need to Know, and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (french). Thousands of patients watched live, and thousands more viewed the clips on YouTube.  

We couldn’t have delivered these programs without the support of our generous donors and sponsors, and our dedicated volunteers. Thanks as well to our generous and supportive Board of Directors and our talented and caring staff for all they do to help make a difference. We strive to improve outcomes for melanoma and skin cancer patients and caregivers, and we are looking forward to continuing to build on our programming to ensure we meet the evolving needs of our community. Stay tuned for more highlights of our achievements in our 2021 Impact Report, which will be out in early 2022. 

Wishing you a safe and Happy Holiday, and all the best in the New Year! 

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Falyn Katz
Executive Director, Melanoma Network of Canada

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