THE OARBURN ROWER
I’m Kyle, a 30-something year old Yorkshireman (Leeds), who’s gradually migrated south and currently living in Salisbury, Wiltshire. As you may have guessed already – I’m a red-head. Most people would say ginger but I’d say I’m more African Sunset or even OARburn. Most red-heads will know that their hair colour isn’t just that; it’s definitely a way of life. We’re known to be feisty, interesting, pale skinned, copious freckles and often found in a shaded area.
Did you know that us red-heads make up between 1-2% of the global population? Did you also know that we have differences in our genetic make-up in the form of a variant in the Melanocortin-1 Receptor (MC1R)? This genetic difference – as well as providing us with our distinctive red-head characteristics – means we are 10x times greater risk of developing skin cancer than our non-red head friends.
Melanoma is a very serious and common form of skin cancer which has the ability to spread to the body’s vital organs rapidly if not detected at an early stage. Staggeringly around 15,400 new cases of Melanoma are diagnosed every year in the UK – with cases expected to rise 7% by 2035 – of which 51% of diagnosis are given to men. Whilst with early detection, professional support and treatment, 91% of Melanoma patients survive their disease for 5 or more years, there are still around 2,300 Melanoma deaths in the UK each year.
Even more shocking are the figures behind Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer… annually – in the UK alone – approximately 210,000 cases are diagnosed each year. That almost 2.5x the seating capacity of Wembley Stadium… or the entire population of York!
In 2020 – during the first national COVID-19 lockdown – Grandad Michael was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary where he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma. The cancer had become metastasis meaning it had spread beyond the original tumour location and regional lymph nodes, and spread to his lungs and brain. Not more than 2 weeks later, Grandad Michael tragically lost his fight with Melanoma.
It is in Michaels memory that I’ll be rowing 3000 miles, completely alone and unsupported, across the Atlantic Ocean to raise absolutely vital funds for skin cancer awareness campaigns, partnerships and national education schemes with the aim of increasing knowledge and early detection.
The sheer size and scale of this challenge should not be underestimated. More people have been into space or have summited Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, I’ve been preparing for such a monumental challenge over the past 3 decades, and have amassed an extensive range of seafaring credentials. As the
Alongside rowing, I’m also a keen runner – having taking part in numerous half and full marathons – a licenced solo skydiver, avid alpine skier and – with my 2 dogs as company – a general outdoor explorer. By day, I split my time between restoring property, fettling with my Land Rover Defender and hiding from the sun.
Want to know even more? Feel free to get in touch!