A mother-of-three dying from skin cancer has left a heartbreaking message to family and friends telling them to ‘live life to the fullest’ once she has gone.
Kellie Wheeler, 35, was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in November and says she is ‘petrified’ and heartbroken’ at the prospect of leaving her children and husband.
Despite never being a sun-worshipper herself and still contracting the deadly disease, she wants to warn others about the dangers of using sunbeds and sunbathing.
The family, from Solihull, shunned holidays abroad in favour of so-called staycations in the UK and always wore sun cream.
But tragically, the hospital receptionist discovered she had developed the most deadly form of skin cancer from a mole on her leg.
She wrote a poignant message on Facebook to family and friends and is sharing her story to raise awareness.
‘None of us know what’s in store in the precious time we are given,’ she said.
‘I’m not brave or strong or dealing with any of it. I’m absolutely petrified, heartbroken, frightened. You name it, I’m feeling it,’ she said.
‘It’s a living hell of a nightmare. The fear of leaving my beautiful children, husband, family and friends is something I can’t cope with.
‘Please don’t use sun beds and please protect yourselves and your children from the sun – it’s a matter of life and death.’
Mrs Wheeler was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2010 when doctors removed the mass on her left leg and she went into remission.
But she developed a pain in her chest in September last year and two months later she was given the devastating news the cancer had returned and was more advanced.
The former barmaid was told she has several tumors in her left and right lung, as well as in her pancreas, kidney, breast and adrenal gland.
Medics have told her the masses have grown considerably since her diagnosis in November.
Friends are now trying to raise money to help her husband Dean, 48, and children Taylor, 17, Louie, 13, and six-year-old Lexi.
HER HEARTBREAKING MESSAGE I’m not brave or strong or dealing with any of it.
I’m absolutely petrified, heartbroken, frightened.
You name it, I’m feeling it.
It’s a living hell of a nightmare that is unimaginable.
The fear of leaving my beautiful children, husband, family, friends and life is something I can’t cope with.
But I just have to tell you all how eternally grateful I am for all the love and support.
I hope this makes everyone live their lives to the fullest because none of us knows what’s in store in the precious time we are given.
PS. Please research melanoma, please don’t use sunbeds and please protect yourselves and your children from the sun.
It’s a matter of life and death.
Lifelong friend Sarah Masters, 32, from Tamworth, said Mrs Wheeler wants to get the message across as ‘people are so blasé about skin cancer.’
‘They think all doctors have to do is cut out a mole and everything’s fine,’ she said.
‘But Kellie says it isn’t just skin cancer when it affects all of the organs in your body.’
Mrs Wheeler is in a lot of pain and has already undergone three rounds of immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer.
Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston, where she is being treated, have suggested another course of the treatment but she admits the prognosis is bleak.
Her story follows that of young teacher Katie Miller last week who religiously used sunbeds to get a pre-holiday tan and was diagnosed with skin cancer at just 24.
She is convinced that using sunbeds constantly for a month before every holiday in the past five years is to blame for her disease.
Despite Mrs Wheeler never using tanning salons herself, she hopes her story will warn others on just how deadly the disease is to stop them putting themselves in more danger.
‘Kellie has never been a sun lover,’ said Mrs Masters.
‘She is quite pale and much prefers Weston-Super-Mare and Brean to anywhere abroad.
‘Whenever she went out in the sun, she always wore protection. She wants people out there to know the dangers of skin cancer and what it can do.
‘And she wants sun beds banned in this country.
‘My friend is in a wheelchair and she cannot do anything for her kids or family.
‘Before this happened, Kellie would do anything for anyone and would turn up to your house with a bunch of flowers if you needed cheering up. She was a real super mum to her children.
‘Everyone who knows her instantly loves her and she has a real connection with people.’
Mrs Wheeler’s GoFundMe page has so far raised more than £6,000.
How to tell if you have skin cancer
While sun and UV exposure significantly raises the risk of skin cancer, anyone can get skin cancer.
But some people are more likely to get it than others.
According to Dr Amy Huber, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the relationship between UV exposure and the development of skin cancer depends on the type of exposure, the kind of skin cancer, and the person’s skin type.
People with lighter skin colour, light hair and light eyes are more at risk, because they have less melanin in their skin to protect them.
Those who have long-term, unprotected sun exposure are also at an increased risk, she says.
Melanoma – the most deadly type of skin cancer – is associated with blistering sunburn rather than repeated exposure to UV rays.
A family history and having a large number of sizeable moles on the body are also factors.
Like nonmelanoma skin cancer, melanoma can arise on any area of the body, regardless of whether or not sunburn occurred in that location.
Melanomas can appear anywhere on the body, but they most commonly appear on the back, legs, arms and face and even underneath a nail.
Though less common, they often spread to other organs in the body, making them more deadly.
The most common sign is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

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