50 years of fighting skin cancer no joke
Wearing hats, under the shade and using sunscreen, George and Marie Double tick all the sunsmart boxes, even on an overcast day.
The couple were two of 10 people who were wearing sunscreen at the Rotorua Lakefront yesterday out of the 30 people surveyed by the Rotorua Daily Post.
The couple said they always wore sunscreen after 84-year-old George Double was diagnosed with skin cancer when he was 30.
The 50-year battle did not start as melanoma, though he has had that, too.
“You’ve got to wear sunscreen all the time. Otherwise, you’re in big trouble.”
Growing up in Australia, George said sunscreen was “never heard of”.
“You didn’t even think about it.”
He said he would come home, burnt, after a day spent in the sun, and go to bed in a singlet. “My mother would put cotton wool underneath it with a big pin to hold it there because the top of my arms were blistered... and you never thought about it.” Marie agreed and said that it was part of summer — you got sunburnt.
“I could remember getting excited and thinking, ‘sunburn! I’m going to get nice and brown!”’
But as experts now stress, the tan is not worth the risk of cancer.
The couple stressed the importance of making sure kids were well educated.
That was where George’s started.
“That’s where the damage was done, in his childhood,” Marie said.
George Double knows what he’s talking about when he says wear sunscreen or “big trouble”.