Rachel Viski and Kath Priest are close friends and young mums with something surprising in common - both have survived melanoma. Together they run Melahomies, a Facebook page where they post their everyday approaches to sun safety and wellbeing. Today they share how surviving cancer has changed their lives, and what they hope people will get out of their personal posts.
First up, what is a melahomie?
Kath: The word first came about when I was reading up on other people’s melanoma journeys. One lady was talking about her homies - those who were supporting her and those who were going through the same journey. I started referring to Rach as my melahomie.
Since then we have been blessed to meet lots of other melahomies - people who have either been affected by melanoma in some way or are on board with spreading awareness about it and supporting those who have had it.
Rachel: We like to think we’re the original melahomies! In saying that, we are certainly not doctors or nurses or experts on melanoma. We are two friends who met through melanoma, made a connection and wanted to turn a negative into a positive…. in a big way!
You guys run a Facebook page together, what is it all about?
Rachel: The Facebook page is where we share our personal experiences of having had brushes with melanoma and battling the little voices that make you question your day-to-day actions and big picture wise - your mortality. We are not alone in this battle, not by a long shot, and while we are deemed 'clean' of melanoma, those voices are always there. We just want to do what we can, using the Facebook page as a repository for all of these snippets of information that we’ve found useful in our own lives.
Kath: I find it really hard to balance fashion and sun safety and I'd really like to influence sun-smart fashion. I'm committing to wearing three quarter sleeves when I'm doing outdoors activities this summer, there will be lots more to come!
Can you tell me about the the 28 day melahomies challenge, where you’ve both committed to waking up a lot earlier than usual in order to start the day well?
Kath: Part of my journey through cancer has been massive lifestyle changes like learning to meditate and making time to have it as a priority; giving up smoking (my kids never knew I did but it was still massive to give up those three ciggies a day); giving up lots of processed foods and eating as little sugar as possible; using less chemicals in my home and on my skin/body/hair and living mindfully.
Sometimes these changes become overwhelming and being a busy mum I needed a solution to our morning ritual of stress and disorganisation. So when Rach said it takes 28 days to make a habit I thought - short-term pain (I love sleeping in), long-term gain. Just getting up one-and-a-half hours earlier makes my family a much happier crew. It's really nice to know someone else is dragging themselves out of bed too!
Do you guys have anything exciting on the horizon?
Rachel: With summer coming, we are working on partnering with the local Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust to deliver information sessions to small groups within the community. We have also thrown around ideas that align with practical and sun-safe fashion, fundraising and generally saving the world. I can imagine that the insides of our minds look like firecracker parties at the moment.
Thanks Rachel and Kath! To see their daily updates and find out more about events they're hosting in Wagga Wagga and Coolamon, head to their Facebook page. Have a lovely week.