TWO cancer patients have produced a fun children’s book to get across the message of staying safe in the sun.

Jacqui Drake, who has stage 4 skin cancer, gives talks in Bradford schools about the importance of sun protection. Now she has teamed up with Sandra Hudson, who she met while having cancer treatment, to write a picture book called Adventures in the Sun with Edi, Hassan and Chen.

“Having been diagnosed with stage 4 malignant melanoma, I’ve always thought we need more education for young children and parents about sun awareness, without using the ‘C word’ or scaring them,” said Jacqui, of Apperley Bridge. “I wanted to bring out a book children could relate to and enjoy.

“I met Sandra, who is a bowel cancer patient, while I was having treatment, we got chatting and she said she’d written a poem about cancer and being on the ward that day. We kept meeting up for treatment and I told her of my idea for a book and asked if she’d like to get involved and write the narrative. I put my ideas for concept and design to her and she said: ‘Yes let’s do it’.

“The idea is to raise awareness of sun protection and raise funds for my appeal, Jacqui’s Million, which helps other cancer patients. The book is an inter active picture book about three children who live on the same street, it covers a week in their school holidays with outdoor activities. It is educational, about sun awareness, and nice to read out loud as some of it is in rhyme. There are things to find in the pictures, and spaces to write and colour in. It’s aimed at primary school children.

“Due to a generous sponsor, we have printed 500 copies and if we sell them all it will bring in £2,500 for the appeal. Sandra and I would love get it into schools too and do assemblies when we can. Sandra has written it beautifully, and Rob Gilroy has done the illustrations which are great and hand drawn, making it very special. The cost per book is £5 and all proceeds go to Jacqui’s Million.”

Added Jacqui: “We’re are not generally very good about educating children about the sun - you’d never send a child out in the snow without a coat and wellie yet we let them play out in the sun without SPF or a hat. And it’s not just when it’s sunny’ it’s about protecting against UV rays even on dull days. The more we can educate the less likely someone will be diagnosed with melanoma in the future.”

Jacqui, who is in the final four for the Kate Granger Award for Outstanding Contribution at the Yorkshire Choice Awards, is aiming to raise £1million to fund equipment and home comforts for the Leeds Cancer Centre, where she has treatment.

“The appeal now stands at £248,201. Future plans are my Mad Hatters PositiviTEA Party on Sunday, August 8 at Hollins Hall, Baildon. Due to Covid this has been rescheduled and limited places still available,” said Jacqui. “I’m also keeping fingers crossed that we can get back in a rehearsal room in September for my charity cabaret Positively Swing at King’s Hall, Ilkley on November 28. This will be staged in memory of my friend Jason Salvin, who was also a Bexley patient and sadly we lost him last year.”

* For more about Jacqui’s Million or to make a donation go to justgiving.com/fundraising/jacquismillion, call 0776 8351683 or email jacqui.drake1@btinternet.com