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Mayor Mike Bradley: ‘There’s something I need to say’

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Editor’s note: Mayor Mike Bradley was offered the following space to explain his current health issues, in his own words.

Mike Bradley

I am male, stubborn and stupid. That was my defence in 2005 after my first skin cancer operation on the left ear for ignoring the problem for far too long.

Mike Bradley
Mike Bradley

“Deputy Mayor” Janis called after the operation to cheer me up. She said, “Council passed a resolution wishing you a quick recovery.” And then added, “and it passed 6 to 2.”

Two more operations followed in 2009, and I’m now scheduled for a fourth one in London this month.

After the first operation, I became a zealot for promoting SLIP, SLOP and SLAP.

SLIP on a shirt with a collar and long sleeves, SLOP on a sunscreen, SLAP on a broad-brimmed (dorky) hat. (Full disclosure: Sometimes I have as much success of following my own advice as Donald Trump does from others.)

A few months ago I knew something was wrong again. A biopsy followed at Bluewater Health. The doctor who performed the operation is new to Sarnia and just before starting, said, “I didn’t know you were the Mayor till the nurses told me.”

Thinking about the Council term so far, I said, “That’s not a bad thing.”

It’s been an eventful summer to say the least. Used to joke that I loved being Mayor so much would do the job for free. Little did I know that prediction would come true someday. Despite not getting paid for three months as Mayor, I am at City Hall every day (when not cutting lawns and delivering The Sarnia Journal as their newest newspaper carrier to help offset the lack of pay), responding to and meeting with citizens and attending events.

Being a private person, would have liked to have kept the latest operation quiet but remembered after the first operation I looked like the lead in the movie The Mummy, with bandages on my ear, neck and chin from the skin grafts. I would prefer to be upfront about the operation and in turn help others.

Skin cancer impacts one in seven Canadians, so I’m not alone. Southwestern Ontario has a high rate of skin cancer due to the exposure levels to the sun here. The chances of having it on the left side of your face are higher than the right. Why? One study says it’s from driving and UVA waves hit the left side of the face.

In Australia the effect has been nicknamed the “cabbie disease” because drivers who spend all day in their cars are highly exposed. And it happens to men more than women.

My closing message is simple. Don’t go out in the sun without protection. SLIP, SLOP and SLAP. Take care of yourself. Good health is the greatest wealth.

Mike Bradley has been the mayor of Sarnia for 28 years



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