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Skin cancer survivor running marathon dressed as sun lotion for charity

A skin cancer survivor is running the London Marathon dressed as a bottle of sun cream to raise money for charity.

James testing out his suit at the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon, Midsummer Common. Picture: Keith Heppell.
James testing out his suit at the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon, Midsummer Common. Picture: Keith Heppell.

Father-of-three James Lovelace, 44, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma three years ago after he discovered a suspicious-looking mole on his leg.

He then endured several operations before being told he was clear of the cancer, but says the support he gained from Macmillan Cancer Support was invaluable and that he wanted to give something back as well as raise awareness about sun safety.

James, who who lives in Melbourn, said: “Three years ago I spotted this mole that was a bit itchy and I thought I should probably get it checked out, but I never thought for a minute it would be cancer. I went to the doctor and they suggested I go to Addenbrooke’s so they could have a look. I wasn’t worried at all, even when they sent it off for testing because nowadays if there is any doubt they just take it off.

“The operation was nothing at all – it was just a local anaesthetic.”

James didn’t give the mole much thought until one day at work he received a phone call.

“I was asked to go into the hospital to discuss my results. When I put the phone down I started to worry, so I called back and demanded to speak to a doctor. He came on the line and told me I had melanoma. I was in total shock.”

After the diagnosis, James was worried for his wife, Anna, and their young family. That’s when he found Macmillan Cancer Support to be a huge help.

“Macmillan helped me an awful lot. They were great from the first meeting with my consultant, when they were sitting in the room with me. They were always available to talk to me about what was happening and what might happen – they were amazing.

“My wife spoke to them directly sometimes and they just provided support when you needed it in the form of answering a lot of questions. I must have spent hours talking to them and usually they were quite hard conversations, ending up with me being in tears in the earlier days. I still see them now when I have my check ups and one of the nurses pops in.

“I knew I wanted to raise money for them, so that’s where the London Marathon came in.”

This will be James’s third time running the London Marathon, but the first dressed up as a bottle of sun protection lotion.

“I got the idea when I saw another runner dressed as a bottle of Ribena,” he laughed. The brand Ultrasun funded the design of the costume and now James is raising money through Just Giving.

“I have practised running in it for a couple of months. It’s a lot of fun but you get quite a few weird looks that is for sure.

“I will be fine unless it’s windy – then I might get blown away.”

Donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/james-lovelace1

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