A Lindfield cancer survivor is kicking Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign into touch as part of her mission to warn people of the dangers of excessive tanning.
Loti Jackson, aged 28, from Kempe Road is a big football fan and posed for a picture at the Amex Stadium in Falmer, which seats 30,750 people. She wanted to illustrate how cancer research and treatment is saving almost 150,000 lives a year - enough to fill the stadium four times over.
Loti knows how lucky she is to be able to help Cancer Research because two years ago, she became aware of the dangers of tanning when she was working in public relations on a campaign about keeping safe in the sun.
Loti had a couple of moles she was concerned about and decided to have them checked. One mole, on the side of her face, turned out to be cancerous and was removed, but Loti needed a second, more invasive operation to ensure cancerous cells were not left behind.
“It was horrible being told I had cancer,” said Loti. “My parents took it particularly hard. I had never had an operation, I had never had stitches. But I needed both on my face and I knew I would be left with a scar. The surgeon was brutally honest and it was hard to hear.”
The second operation left Loti with a three-inch scar from her eye to her jaw line but saved her life.
Loti uses make-up to conceal her scar and is enormously releaved her cancer was caught early and that she was treated by highly skilled plastic surgeons at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
Loti said: “I had used sunbeds a couple of times in the past but it was a very long time ago, before I knew how dangerous they are. I also knew moles could change into skin cancer but I wasn’t aware of the severity of the situation until I worked on that sun awareness campaign.
“As soon as I was told I had skin cancer I vowed to tell my story wherever I could to make people aware of the signs and symptoms and urge them to get their moles checked out.”
Loti, who has been free of cancer for just over a year, said: “It’s thanks to research and treatment that I’m here, supporting Cancer Research UK.”