The family of a much-loved father who died of skin cancer have vowed to raise awareness of the condition.
Paul Mackerill was a devoted father of two and a loving husband to his wife Helen but, just two days before the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary on August 30, the 52-year-old lost his four-year battle with cancer.
Mrs Mackerill, of Rydal Gardens, South Shields, is now determined to raise awareness of skin cancer and calling on people to be more aware of the danger signs.
She said: “I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to take care of themselves in the sun. If they have moles on their body, they should look out for any changes.
“Any little changes should be checked out. If you have a partner who has moles on their back check them for them.”
She added: “There also needs to be more awareness around the sun protection factor as a lot of people don’t understand it.
“I would love to go into schools and raise awareness to young people of how important it is to take care of themselves in the sun and also for parents to ensure they use the highest sun factor for their children.
“We knew Paul’s cancer was terminal but watching your husband die over a year, you can never prepare for that.”
Mr Mackerill is survived by Helen and their two children Emily, 14 and Sophie, nine.
Mrs Mackerill met her husband, who was originally from the Lawe Top area of South Shields, in 1988.
She said: “He was a loving husband and a typical lad. He loved hanging around with the lads from the Grey Hen but he also loved spending time with us.
“He was a fantastic dad and he was great with the kids. They idolised him.
“When he started to become too ill to go out he used to make cakes with them. He loved cooking. He is going to be a massive miss to us all.”
Mr Mackerill, who had his own company PM Joinery Services and worked on bars across South Tyneside, was first diganised with melanoma in 2011 after a mole on his chest became cancerous.
It was removed in the December of that year but, by the following September, it was discovered the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.
He underwent another operation and was continually monitored.
In January this year he became ill again, this time losing his hearing. It had been thought he was suffering from Labyrinthitis - an inner ear infection which resulted in him losing his hearing.
Undefeated he turned to communicating through pen and paper. His condition worsened and after going to the hospital it was discovered he had brain tumours including growths in his ears.
He was put on a chemotherapy drug trial which gave him some hearing back.
Mrs Mackerill added: “Paul had been given weeks to live in February but he went onto a drugs trial which gave him 50 per cent of his hearing back so he was able to hear his daughters again. That was important thing to him.”
Over time his health deteriorated where he was eventually cared for at St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow.
Since his death, his wife, family and friends have raised cash by taking part in fun runs helping to raise £2,125 for Macmillan, donations at his funeral was in aid of St Clare’s Hospice.
They are continuing their fundraising for St Clare’s Hospice through a just-giving page.
•Anyone who would like to donate can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/Helen-Mackerill1/
The most common type of skin cancer is non-melanoma, malignant melanoma being the most aggressive form.
According to Cancer Research 37 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every day.
Advice from the NHS says people should wear sun protection with at least sun protection factor of 15.
It should be applied 15 minutes before you go out into the sun and reapplied every two hours.
If you are planning to spend time in the water, use a waterproof sunscreen.
More than 2,000 people die every year in the UK from melanoma.
The SPF is linked to the amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned and how much of the UVB rays are blocked out. A product with an SPF of 15 will filter out approximately 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent.
There is no equivalent for UVA, however.
Added ingredients in sunscreen such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, can offer protection, but there is no measurement as to how much.
According to website www.skincancer.org/ suncream regardless of strength sun protection should be applied every two hours.