Words by Smiley Team
A terminally ill cancer patient, Jacqui Drake, is on a mission to raise £1 million for cancer patients – while also warning Brits to change their relationship with the sun.
Jacqui, 59 from Bradford, has stage 4 melanoma – an aggressive form of skin cancer. She had her first melanoma at 30, but after having a mole removed from her leg, the cancer returned 17 years later. She has been treated at Leeds Cancer Centre for over 12 years.
Despite being clinically vulnerable, the choreographer and former dance teacher is running her ‘Jacqui’s Million Appeal’ raising funds throughout the pandemic. To date, she’s raised over £300k for Leeds Hospitals Charity to support staff and patients at Leeds Cancer Centre.
To help with fundraising, and to change behaviours in the sun in parents and children, Jacqui recently published her first children’s book – Adventures in the Sun with Edi, Hassan and Chen – in collaboration with fellow cancer patient, Sandra Hudson, to highlight the importance of sun protection.
The book normalises hats, and sun cream alongside buckets and spades as three children go on an adventure in the sun. Just as we teach children to wash their hands after using the bathroom, or brush their teeth before bed, she feels sun protection should be an everyday measure.
“It’s just normalising the behaviour of wearing a hat, putting on sun cream, and so on, not scaring children, we don’t mention the ‘C’ word anywhere in the story," she says. "You wouldn’t send a child out into the snow without a coat, why would you send them out in the sun without adequate protection?”
Jacqui’s ambition is for her book to be widely available in schools, on airplanes, and in holiday parks to help foster a healthier relationship with the sun from an early age. All profits of the book (£5 per book) go to Jacqui's Million fundraising challenge.
DONATE: You can make a donation towards Jacqui's appeal by donating on JustGiving.
BUY THE BOOK: To purchase a copy of Adventures in the Sun with Edi, Hassan and Chen, for £5, with all profits going to Jacqui’s Million, contact Jacqui directly on: [email protected].