Sophie’s Story: “Sam passing gave me a new sense of purpose”

19 November 2019 | Cancer Council NSW

Sophie’s Story.

Saturday 7 December is National Patio Day—a chance to gather your family, friends and loved ones under your patio and celebrate the first Saturday of summer in style while also raising vital funds and awareness for Cancer Council.   

Cancer Council Ambassador Sophie Hughes knows all too well how a cancer diagnosis can change lives.

After losing her mother to breast cancer, brother to pancreatic cancer and seeing her husband diagnosed with prostate cancer, Sophie thought her cancer story ended there—unfortunately it didn’t.

Sophie’s son Sam was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma after discovering a suspicious mole at the back of his head.

Sam isn’t alone—2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form skin cancer before the age of 70, with around 4,968 new cases of melanoma in New South Wales every year.

After bravely undergoing treatment Sam lost his life to melanoma at just 38 years of age. He didn’t just leave behind his mum, but also his wife and young son Cole.

“While the pain and grief is overwhelming, Sam passing gave me a new sense of purpose”.

“By telling Sam’s story I want to educate people on the risks of skin cancer and just how much damage the sun can do, and more importantly, how skin cancer can be prevented. By protecting ourselves and our loved ones, we can save lives and prevent heartache in loved ones left behind,” she said.  

 “Before Sam was diagnosed, we didn’t really know much about melanoma. We thought it was ‘just skin cancer’. It shouldn’t take the diagnosis of someone close to you to spark an interest in and passion about health and cancer prevention,” she said.

“While in general we’re seeing a positive shift in younger generations being more and more SunSmart, there’s still a lack of understanding amongst the wider community about melanoma and skin cancer.”

“That’s why events like National Patio Day are so important—the more awareness and money we can raise, the more lives we’ll save,” she said.

It’s not too late to join Sophie and register to host an event this National Patio Day. All the money raised through the event will go towards supporting Australians impacted by cancer and raising vital awareness on the importance of sun protection this summer.

To find out more and to register visit www.cancercouncilnationalpatioday.com.au.

For some tips on how to make your National Patio Day SunSmart visit: https://www.cancersa.org.au/get-informed/blog/details/be-uv-aware-in-your-backyard