50 years of fight­ing skin can­cer no joke

Rotorua Daily Post - - Local News - — Cira Olivier

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.

PHOTO / STEPHEN PARKER

Ge­orge Dou­ble knows what he’s talk­ing about when he says wear sun­screen or “big trou­ble”.

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